India's prime minister asked for "forgiveness" after his coronavirus shutdown hurt millions of poor people, he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi apologized Sunday in his weekly radio address for the lockdown, which left citizens jobless and hungry. He said there was "no other way" to stop the virus.
He said: "Especially when I look at my poor brothers and sisters, I definitely feel that they must be thinking, 'what kind of prime minister is this who has placed us in this difficulty?' I especially seek their forgiveness ... I understand your troubles but there was no other way to wage war against coronavirus ... It is a battle of life and death and we have to win it."
Last week, Modi announced a 21-day lockdown, giving a nation of 1.3 billion people just a few hours' notice of being sequestered in their homes. The country also closed all nonessential businesses. The government then announced a $22 billion stimulus package to help the country's poor.
While India has reported just over 1,000 cases, experts worry that number could be much higher, as the country has one of the lowest testing rates in the world.