Coronavirus outbreak: 75 districts locked down; train and Metro services suspended

Updated: Mar 23, 2020, 08:02 IST | Agencies | New Delhi

Decisions taken at meet of chief secretaries of all states and cabinet secretary and the principal secretary to the PM

This combination of pictures taken on March 22, shows deserted (clockwise) Subhash Chowk in Allahabad, Rajpath leading to India Gate in New Delhi, a road in Kolkata and Gateway of India and Taj Mahal Palace hotel in Mumbai during the Janata Curfew imposed as a preventive measure against Coronavirus. Pic/AFP
This combination of pictures taken on March 22, shows deserted (clockwise) Subhash Chowk in Allahabad, Rajpath leading to India Gate in New Delhi, a road in Kolkata and Gateway of India and Taj Mahal Palace hotel in Mumbai during the Janata Curfew imposed as a preventive measure against Coronavirus. Pic/AFP

All inter-state buses, passenger trains and Metro services have been suspended across the country till March 31 while 75 districts where Coronavirus cases were reported completely locked down as authorities undertook extraordinary measures to check the spread of the disease. The decisions were taken at a high-level meeting of chief secretaries of all states and the cabinet secretary and the principal secretary to the prime minister, officials said on Sunday.

The districts where lockdown was announced are from states that include Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. State governments will issue orders allowing only essential services to operate in these 75 districts with confirmed COVID-19 cases or casualties, a Union Home Ministry official said.

The officials stressed that these steps were vital to end the chain of transmission. It was agreed that there was an urgent need to extend the restrictions on the movement of non-essential passenger transport, including interstate transport buses, till March 31 to contain the spread of the deadly COVID-19, they said.

It was noted that several state governments have already issued orders in this regard. All the chief secretaries informed that there was overwhelming and spontaneous response to the call for 'Janta Curfew' given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The state governments may expand the list depending on their assessment of the situation. In the meeting, it was decided to suspend all train services till March 31, including suburban rail services. However, goods trains are exempted. All Metro rail services were also suspended till March 31, the officials said.

The Railways announced suspension of all its 13,523 passenger trains from March 22 midnight to March 31 midnight and said only goods trains will run during the said period. The suspensions also include all suburban train services. The Railways reported three incidents on Saturday, where people asked to remain in quarantine were found travelling on trains. Of those detected in the three instances, 12 tested positive for COVID-19.

Seven
Coronavirus death toll in the country

Rs 3,000
Amount Punjab is giving to each construction worker

Hospitals to be earmarked

The Union Health Ministry announced on Sunday that states would be earmarking a certain number of hospitals to exclusively treat COVID-19 patients. At a press conference, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Director Balram Bhargava said a lockdown was the most essential aspect to break the chain of transmission. The reaction came soon after the Centre and state governments decided to completely lock down 75 districts across the country where virus cases have been detected.

'Don't stigmatise'

The Delhi government is marking all homes with persons advised to home quarantine, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said, as he appealed to the people to not stigmatise such families. Kejriwal appealed to all to stay indoors even after the Janata Curfew ends at 9 pm, and stay at home in the coming days too. He further said that six locally transmitted Coronavirus cases have been reported in Delhi.

IGIA health counters

Union Civil Aviation Miniter Hardeep Singh Puri said that there are 90 operational health counters at the Indira Gandhi International Airport for secondary screening of incoming passengers. In a tweet, the minister said, "It has been a difficult two days, but with 90 health counters operational for secondary screening of incoming passengers at Delhi Airport, things are back to normal," he said.

Delhi Metro shut till March 31

Delhi Metro services have been closed till March 31 in view of the Coronavirus outbreak, the DMRC said. On Saturday, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation had announced that the services will be largely closed on Monday. In a statement on Sunday, it said, "As per the latest decision, in order to fight the Coronavirus outbreak, it has been decided that Metro services will remain completely closed till Mar 31."

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