Janata curfew: People stay indoors, shops closed in MP

(Eds: Adding details) Bhopal, Mar 22 (PTI) People in Madhya Pradesh remained indoors and roads wore a deserted look Sunday in view of the 'Janata curfew' call given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to fight off coronavirus.

Most of the cities woke up to empty streets as even morning walkers and joggers did not venture out of their homes.

Gardens, stadiums and other public grounds, which usually witness crowds on weekends, were empty this Sunday.

Roadside shops and eateries also remained closed across the state. The public transport system did not function either.

However, milk booths, medical shops, hospitals and ambulance facility were operating.

The prime minister proposed a 'Janata curfew' on Sunday between 7 am and 9 pm as part of social distancing tocheck the spread of the deadly virus.

PM Modi had urged people to express their gratitude to doctors, nurses, paramedics, municipal staff, armed forces etc. who are risking their lives to keep the nation healthy.

They were requested to clap their hands and bang utensils like plates and pans from their houses.

In response to his appeal, MP Governor Lalji Tandon rang a bell. BJP leader and former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan also performed this act.

Meanwhile, the number of Covid-19 patients in the state rose to five on Sunday, with a woman studying law, who had recently returned from London, testing positive for the infection in Bhopal.

Four others had tested positive Jabalpur earlier.

'Five people one in Bhopal and four in Jabalpur have tested positive for coronavirus in MP so far,' Madhya Pradesh caretaker health minister Tarun Bhanot told PTI on Sunday.

We are keeping a close watch in entire MP, he added Nine districts Bhopal, Jabalpur, Seoni, Narsinghpur, Chhindwara, Balaghat, Betul, Gwalior and Ratlam- have been placed under lockdown, he said.

Narsinghpur would remain shut for longest 14 days, he added.

Till a couple of days back, people crowded streets of Jabalpur, it appeared like a ghost town on Sunday in the wake of four positive cases found there.

Three of these four persons, residents of a densely populated area in Jabalpur, apparently came in contact with a number of people since their return from abroad. Among them a man has been booked for not informing the authorities of his return from abroad on March 16, official sources said.

'Twenty-one people, who had come in contact with him, had been quarantined,' an official said.

To check the spread of coronavirus, authorities in several districts of the state have taken various measures, like shutting schools, cinema halls and museums, keeping passenger buses off roads and closing down restaurants and markets.

The Essential Commodities Act has also been imposed in the state to check hoarding of masks and hand sanitisers.

Meanwhile, the authorities have sealed the borders that the state shares with Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashta. PTI LAL MAS GK NP NP