India faces fresh lockdown measures as Prime Minister Modi announces £220 billion coronavirus economic package

A special economic package to help businesses severely affected by the coronavirus lockdown has been announced by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In an address to the nation on Tuesday evening, the PM said the stimulus package will play an important role in helping businesses become "self-reliant" during the Covid-19 economic crisis.

"We had never seen or heard about such a crisis ever before," Mr Modi said.

"This is definitely unimaginable for mankind.

"It is unprecedented.

"But humanity will not accept defeat from this virus.

"We have to not only protect ourselves but also move forward," Mr Modi said in his fifth address to the nation following the Covid-19 outbreak.

Migrant workers board a truck as they attempt to reach their villages thousands of miles away. Credit: AP

"Coronavirus is going to be part of our lives for a long time, but we can't let our lives revolve around it," Mr Modi said.

Talking about extending the lockdown, Mr Modi said "lockdown 4.0" will take a new form, with new rules and guidelines to be announced before May 18.

The current third phase of lockdown will come to end on May 17.

Mr Modi did not speak about the plight of thousands of migrant workers and their families who are desperately trying to reach home after losing their jobs, leaving them with nothing to buy food with for themselves or their families.

Modi was criticised for not mentioning the plight of migrant workers in his address to the nation. Credit: AP

Thousands of labourers and workers have set out on foot in an attempt to reach their homes, while others are hitch-hiking across the country, jostling for space in any vehicle to reach their destination.

The main opposition Congress party criticised Mr Modi for the omission.

“India is deeply disappointed by the utter lack of empathy, sensitivity and failure to address the woes of millions of migrant workers,” a spokesperson for the Congress party said.

The total number of coronavirus cases in India reached 70,756 on Tuesday, while active cases stand at 46,008.

The number of people who have recovered from Covid-19 in the country is currently 22,454 while 2,293 people have died, according to the Indian Health Ministry.