State government authorities had on Saturday informed people that only those engaged in essential services would be allowed to travel in local trains, that too after checking their identity papers. (Express photo by Prem Nath Pandey)
Even as the country observed "Janata curfew" on Sunday following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's unprecedented shutdown call to check the spread of the novel coronavirus, two more deaths were reported linked to COVID-19 from Bihar and Maharashtra, taking the overall toll to six. The Indian Council of Medical Research on Sunday said that the total number of coronavirus cases in India rose to 341.
Meanwhile, the Railways announced suspension of all trains from March 22 till March 31. Only goods trains will be allowed to ply during this period. More than 2.3 crore travel on the Railways on average daily. The development comes amid migrants flooding railway stations in big cities to rush back home.
"No trains except goods trains will be run up to 2400 hrs of 31.03.2020. Bare minimum local trains and Kolkata metro rail service will continue to run till 2400 hrs on 22.03.2020, thereafter these services will also be stopped till 2400 hrs of 31.03.2020," the Railways said in a statement.
India shuts down, observes 'Janata curfew'
As the 14-hour 'Janata curfew' kicked in from 7 am, people across India stayed indoors, streets bore a deserted look, all shops and establishments and hotels had their shutters down and a large number of vehicles were off the roads. The 'Janata curfew' will end at 9 pm.
State government authorities had on Saturday informed people that only those engaged in essential services would be allowed to travel in local trains, that too after checking their identity papers. (Express photo)
Ahead of the start of the curfew, PM Modi called people as valued soldiers in the fight against coronavirus. "Each of you is a valued soldier in this battle against COVID-19. Your being alert and cautious can help lakhs of other lives," PM Modi tweeted.
In Delhi, except some private vehicles and buses, roads were empty and a sense of serenity prevailed in the usually bustling Connaught Place. In some pockets, the Delhi Police could be seen offering flowers to people on the streets, requesting them to stay at home.
Janata curfew in Ahmedabad. (Express photo by Javed Raja)
The 'Janata curfew' call received a good response in Maharashtra, which has reported the maximum positive cases at 64, according to the Health Ministry. The western and eastern express highways, the Marine Drive and the suburban train stations, the lifeline of Mumbai, were deserted.
State government authorities had on Saturday informed people that only those engaged in essential services would be allowed to travel in local trains, that too after checking their identity papers.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has already ordered a complete shutdown of offices and shops, excluding essential services, in Mumbai, cities in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, Pune, Pimpri Chinchwad and Nagpur from Friday midnight until March 31.
Policemen as seen during the lockdown in the national capital. (Express photo by Renuka Puri)
In Madhya Pradesh, besides the four districts of Jabalpur, Rewa, Seoni and Narsinghpur that have been placed under lockdown, roadside shops and eateries remained closed. Same was the situation in Gujarat's Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot.
Tourist hotspot Goa followed the curfew call with people off the streets and beaches desolate. The Goa Church cancelled its Sunday masses all over the coastal state to avoid crowding.
Tamil Nadu also came to a virtual standstill and the government extended the Janata curfew till 5 am on Monday. However, there will be no bar on essential services.
Kolkata wears a deserted look on Sunday. (Express photo by Shashi Ghosh)
Odisha, Rajasthan, Bihar and Chandigarh have announced either complete or partial lockdown till the month end. Air carriers like GoAir, IndiGo and Vistara have curtailed domestic operations on Sunday.
Two more deaths reported from Bihar, Maharashtra
On Sunday, Bihar reported its first coronavirus-linked death after a a 38-year-old man with underlying chronic renal complications passed away at a Patna hospital. The man, a resident of Munger, had returned from Qatar, on February 20 and was admitted at a Patna hospital after he showed symptoms of COVID-19.
A citizen walks past a closed shop in Ludhiana. (Express photo by Gurmeet Singh)
In what could be a first case of community transmission leading to death, a 63-year-old man with suspected symptoms of flu passed away in Mumbai. The 63-year-old, who had no foreign travel history, had underlying conditions of diabetes, high blood pressure and ischemic heart disease.
The man developed symptoms about 13 days ago after he returned from Surat and was admitted to a hospital on March 19. He developed acute respiratory distress syndrome and was put on ventilator support. "So far we have found nothing. No contacts," a state official said. His wife has also tested positive for COVID-19 and has been remains admitted in Kasturba hospital.
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