More and more cities, regions under shutdown; railways come to standstill
GN Bureau | March 22, 2020
Sunday marked a watershed in India’s battle with the COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus outbreak: following prime minister Narendra Modi’s appeal for a “janta curfew”, people stayed home and made a gesture of gratitude towards those working hard to keep the nation safe. This was a mental preparation for the tough fight ahead, as more and more parts of the country are going under lockdown.
The Indian Railways, for the first time in its history, came to a standstill, as passenger trains did not move during the curfew. Now it plans to remain shut till March 31, plying only goods trains.
Delhi is among the cities and states that will be completely locked out barring essential services as the number of coronavirus affected cases rose to 370 and the death toll climbed to seven.
The states were advised by the PMO to issue appropriate orders to shut down the 75 districts which have confirmed cases.
On Sunday, streets wore a completely deserted look since 7 am. At 5 pm families came out in their balconies and on their rooftops to bang plates and clap and blow conches and make noise – as a gesture of appreciation and gratitude towards all those who have been putting their life at risk to keep the nation running and fight the virus outbreak.
President Ram Nath Kovid and the first family also joined the citizens in this novel gesture, following the PM’s appeal during the address to the nation on Thursday.
The PM thanked the nation, and tweeted: “The country thanked each person who led the fight against the corona virus. Many thanks to the countrymen.”
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