Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has extended the world's biggest nationwide coronavirus lockdown

With mounting cases of coronavirus cases India’s Prime Minister has announced further extension of the country's nationwide lockdown until May 3.

The lockdown had been due to come to an end on April 14.

Addressing the nation through a televised speech Mr Modi said: “India has coped very well so far but it was vital that the virus is prevented from impacting parts of the country that remain unaffected”.

However he said that some states which have avoided outbreaks may be allowed to resume "important activities."

South Asian nations have so far been relatively unscathed by the epidemic, with around 10,000 cases and 339 deaths in India, according to official figures.

In his speech, Modi thanked citizens for adhering to the lockdown restrictions over the past three weeks.

However not everyone is happy with this decision.

Indian companies have warned if the lockdown continues, poorer communities would be affected the most and experts have warned it could lead to "social unrest."

The country's government is grappling with increasing Covid-19 cases and a sinking economy, which would leave millions of people unemployed.

Shaktikanta Das, governor of Indian’s central Bank has called the coronavirus outbreak an "invisible assassin" that could wreak havoc on the economy.

Due to the sudden lockdown millions of daily wage workers lost their jobs, forcing hundreds of thousands to travel hundreds of kilometres back to their home villages from major cities of India, often on foot.

The coronavirus outbreak has been called an 'invisible assassin.' Credit: AP

Since the lockdown was enforced, only essential services have been operational. Those include water, electricity, health services, fire services, grocery stores and municipal services.

With all essentials services operational, providing internet to mobile and broadband users has become a challenge for telecom companies.

India has more than 630 million mobile users and about 19 million have broadband connections.

The increasingly restricted movement of the public and limited outdoor activities caused by the coronavirus crisis is driving India towards e-commerce.

Millions of Indians are now gradually becoming more dependent on digital connectivity, as the country battles the ongoing pandemic.

The coronavirus crisis has driven India towards e-commerce, as more people work from home. Credit: AP

With the lockdown, many Indians are working from home.

As a result, the telecom service providers are seeing a 10 percent surge in web traffic.

This is posing an unique challenge for telecom operators.

“Telecom companies have ramped up their network capacity to meet the increased demand for the additional data” said Rajan S Mathews, director general of Telecom body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) .

The World Bank has said economic growth in India and other South Asian countries is likely to be the slowest for four decades this year because of the coronavirus outbreak.

PM Modi offered no immediate relief to the millions of people who have lost their jobs because of the shutdown of the 2.9 trillion economy, but said he felt their pain, with poor families struggling to afford food, and many migrant workers unable to reach their villages.