Streets deserted in Punjab, Haryana & Chandigarh as people observe 'Janata curfew'

Chandigarh, Mar 22 (PTI) Streets, roads and public places in Punjab, Haryana and their common capital Chandigarh wore a deserted look on Sunday as the 'Janata curfew' proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to counter the spread of coronavirus began.

The 14-hour-long 'Janata curfew' is part of a social distancing exercise to help stop the spread of the virus. It began at 7 am and will end at 9 pm.

Showing solidarity with the prime minister's appeal, people chose to stay indoors in Union Territory Chandigarh and streets, roads and public places remained empty.

People in Punjab and Haryana also preferred to stay inside, barring a few who ventured out to purchase essentials like medicines.

'We have to help the government combat the pandemic which has gripped the world. We as citizens too have equal responsibility to ensure that there is no spread of coronavirus in the community,' said Baldev, an elderly resident in Chandigarh.

Notably, with the number of coronavirus patients reaching 14 in the state, the Punjab government on Saturday night announced lockdowns in several districts, including Jalandhar, Nawanshahr, Kapurthala and Hoshiarpur.

'Establishments in districts of Nawanshahr and Hoshiarpur have been closed while a partial lockdown has been ordered in Jalandhar with effect from 7 am on March 22 (Sunday) up to midnight of March 25,' a government statement said here earlier.

Similarly, it has also been advised to keep establishments in Kapurthala district closed from Monday as a precautionary measure, it further said.

Punjab Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh had said the 'Janata curfew' would be implemented without coercion but with persuasion and no criminal action on any defiance would be initiated.

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had said during the 'Janata Curfew', essential commodities, including grocery shops, petrol pumps and chemist shops, would remain operational.

Eight positive cases of the coronavirus have been reported in Haryana. PTI SUN VSD IJT