The usually bustling Sealdah station in Kolkata wears a deserted look on Monday
A day after the country observed "janata curfew", 20 states and Union Territories went into a lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19, with the governments in Maharashtra, Punjab, Kerala, Karnataka, Assam, Gujarat imposing state-wide curfew on Monday as the number of novel coronavirus cases climbed to 433. The figure includes 41 foreign nationals and eight deaths.
The Centre ordered suspension of all domestic commercial flights from Wednesday to restrict inter-state movement as a precautionary measure. Globally, the number of cases has crossed 3,49,000 while the death toll is over 15,000. FOLLOW LIVE UPDATES
Lockdown violators may face 6 months jail
A day after authorities announced a complete lockdown of 75 districts in 22 States and Union Territories till March 31 and with public flouting the rules, the Centre asked state governments to take legal action against violators. Those flouting rules may face six months jail or Rs 1,000 fine under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code.
"States have been asked to strictly enforce the lockdown in the areas where it has been announced. Legal action will be taken against violators," the Press Information Bureau, government's communication wing, said.
Delhi Police patrol the border at Ghazipur on Monday. (Express photo by Prem Nath Pandey)
West Bengal records first coronavirus-linked death
A 55-year-old man, who was admitted to a private hospital in Kolkata and had tested positive for COVID-19, died on Monday afternoon. This is the first case of conoravirus-linked death in West Bengal.
The resident of Dumdum, who died of cardiac arrest, was admitted to Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the hospital with acute respiratory distress syndrome and was put on ventilator. His samples were sent to NICED and SSKM hospital, one of which came positive. Later, fresh samples were sent to SSKM and NICED again and results of both came positive on March 21. According to the sources in the private hospital, family members stated that he had no history of foreign travel.
Till date, seven people in West Bengal have been tested positive.
Maharashtra: CM Uddhav Thackeray announces statewide lockdown
A day after the janata curfew, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray Monday announced a statewide lockdown till March 31 in order to contain the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The government, which had already sealed state borders on Sunday, will now seal the borders of each district. Section 144 is already in place in the state.
View of Gateway of India in Mumbai on Sunday during janata curfew. (Express photo by Nirmal Harindran)
The CM said all interstate borders will be sealed except for the movement of essential and perishable commodities. “Private vehicles will be allowed only for emergencies. Private vehicles and taxis will be allowed with the driver and two people. Autorickshaws will be allowed with driver and one person,” he said.
However, all essentials like groceries, milk, medical supplies, etc., will remain open, the CM said, urging the people not to panic.
Karnataka: Cases rise to 33 as govt complete lockdown
Karnataka recorded seven more positive cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on Monday, taking the total number of cases in the state to 33. According to the media bulletin released on Monday by the state health department, six out of these are in Bengaluru while one case was recorded in Mysuru district.
Section 188 under which you can be fined for violating lockdown
Section 3 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, provides penalties for disobeying any regulation or order under the Act. These are according to Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code pertaining to disobedience of an order duly promulgated by public servant. Section 188 comes under the Code’s Chapter X, ‘Of Contempts of the Lawful Authority of Public Servants’. Interestintgly, the code says that it is not necessary that the “offender should intend to produce harm, or contemplate his disobedience as likely to produce harm. It is sufficient that he knows of the order which he disobeys, and that his disobedience produces, or is likely to produce, harm.
In the evening, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa ordered lockdown across the entire state. Earlier, the orders was issued only for 9 districts. “After assessing the situation of #covid_19, we have decided to lockdown not just 9 districts but the whole state of Karnataka starting tomorrow till March 31st. I request all citizens to co operate and please stay indoors,” he tweeted.
Curfew in Chandigarh from Monday midnight
The Chandigarh administration has decided to impose curfew across the UT starting with effect from March 24 till further orders, an order issued by Governor of Punjab-cum-Administrator of UT V P Singh Badnore said. .
The DGP has been given strict directions to enforce the curfew without any relaxation whatsoever.
Individuals engaged in essential services including police, medical etc., will only be allowed with curfew passes. Employees of Punjab, Haryana and central government will request for passes through their Chief Secretaries only. Moreover, the relaxation in curfew hours will be given for purchase of essential items in due course.
Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir administration sealed its borders with Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, and the UT of Ladakh. It has also restricted inter-district movement of vehicles within the Union Territory "as per requirement.
Grant leave to domestic helps till March 31, pay wages: Gujarat govt
In order to promote social distancing and check the spread of coronavirus, the Labour and Employment department of Gujarat government Monday asked citizens to grant voluntary leaves to domestic helps and other domestic workers until March 31. The state government also announced complete lockdown in the state from March 24 (Monday midnight) to March 31.
“Domestic helps, maids, cooks, and people engaged in housekeeping activities be granted voluntary leave until March 31. We also appeal that they be paid their wages in full for this period,” a circular by the Labour Department said. The workers should be encouraged to stay indoors in their own homes and observe proper hygiene.
The circular said that workers living in staff quarters may be asked to continue to work, but adequate care be taken to ensure that the workers do not step out and come in contact with other people.
Assam announces complete lockdown till March 31
Assam has announced a complete lockdown in the state from 6pm, March 24 till March 31. Grocery shops, pharmacies, petrol depot will remain open through this period. On Monday, Assam health minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma addressed a press conference in Guwahati announcing the lockdown. “Needless to say hospitals, fire brigade, electricity, public health engineering etc will remain open,” he told reporters. Cooking gas will also be available through the period.
Assam has not reported a positive COVID-19 test so far. As of 4pm, Monday, 169 samples were tested in the four accredited testing laboratories in the state. “148 samples have tested negative and 21 samples are awaited,” said Sarma.
Save yourself, save your family: PM Modi appeals to citizens
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to state governments to ensure that rules and regulations of the coronavirus lockdown are enforced while pointing out that many people were not taking the measure seriously.
"Many people are still not taking the lockdown seriously. Please save yourself, save your family, follow the instructions seriously. I request state governments to ensure rules and laws are followed," PM Modi tweeted.
लॉकडाउन को अभी भी कई लोग गंभीरता से नहीं ले रहे हैं। कृपया करके अपने आप को बचाएं, अपने परिवार को बचाएं, निर्देशों का गंभीरता से पालन करें। राज्य सरकारों से मेरा अनुरोध है कि वो नियमों और कानूनों का पालन करवाएं।
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 23, 2020
PM Modi hails Air India crew
A day after Air India called out “vigilante” Resident Welfare Associations for “ostracising” its crew members who had travelled on duty abroad, PM Modi hailed the crew of the state carrier for evacuating stranded people from coronavirus-hit countries.
"Extremely proud of this team of @airindiain, which has shown utmost courage and risen to the call of humanity. Their outstanding efforts are admired by several people across India," PM Modi tweeted.
Extremely proud of this team of @airindiain, which has shown utmost courage and risen to the call of humanity. Their outstanding efforts are admired by several people across India. #IndiaFightsCorona https://t.co/I7Czxep7bj
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 23, 2020
SC to seal lawyers' chambers
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court announced the closure of all the lawyers’ chambers and said that only important matters would be taken up via videoconferencing.
Chief Justice of India SA Bobde ordered the sealing of lawyers’ chambers by tomorrow 5 pm. “There will be no gathering of lawyers on top court premises till further orders,” the apex court said, adding that all proximity cards issued to lawyers will be temporarily cancelled.
Outside the BSE office in Mumbai. Stock exchanges paused trading for 45 minutes after Sensex plunged 10 per cent, hitting its lower circuit limit. (Express photo)
The bench, also comprising justices L N Rao and Surya Kant, said only Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president Dushyant Dave could authorise lawyers to enter the top court premises for urgent reasons.
In an attempt to avoid overcrowding in jails, the Supreme Court directed all states and UTs to set up high-level committees to determine the class of prisoners who could be released on parole, PTI reported.
"Prisoners convicted of or charged with offences having jail term up to 7 years can be given parole," the SC said.
AIIMS, the country's top medical institute, witnesses over 15,000 patients in its OPD on a daily basis. (Express photo)
AIIMS to shut OPD services from Tuesday
Meanwhile, AIIMS has decided to shut down OPD, including specialty services, all new and follow up patients' registration from March 24 till further orders in a move to avoid any form of community transmission. The country's top medical institute witnesses over 15,000 patients in its OPD on a daily basis. The hospital has already curtained the elective surgeries from March 20.
“It has now been decided that all OPD services (including super-specialty services) inter-alia all new as follow-up patient's registration in AIIMS hospital and all centers will remain closed from Tuesday till further notice,” an order by the medical superintendent Dr DK Sharma stated.
Here's a quick coronavirus guide for you to stay updated: Who all should be tested for Covid-19 and when? | How should you quarantine yourself? | How often (and how) should you clean your home? | What is the Janata Curfew announced by PM Modi? | Who are restricted from coming to India, and from when? | How long can the virus live on surfaces or in air around you? | Still more Coronavirus Q&A Explained news here