New Delhi: As the number of coronavirus infected people in the country crossed 324, millions of Indians are staying indoors on Sunday, heeding Prime Minister Narendra Modi's bid to observe 'janata curfew'.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday requested people to join the 'janata curfew' to make the fight against the coronavirus a success.
Modi had proposed 'janata curfew' on Sunday between 7am and 9pm as part of social distancing to check the spread of the deadly virus.
"In a few minutes from now, the #JantaCurfew commences. Let us all be a part of this curfew, which will add tremendous strength to the fight against COVID-19 menace," the prime minister wrote on Twitter.
He said the steps to be taken now will help in the times to come.
"Stay indoors and stay healthy," he said.
States observe Janata curfew
In the national capital, the roads were deserted with barely some private vehicles and buses plying. Vendors were off the roads in the morning hours with people confining themselves to their homes.
In Mumbai, the usually bustling western and eastern express highways and other arterial roads looked empty as people stayed in their homes to support the curfew.
Same was the situation at the suburban train stations which normally see thousands of commuters jostling to get inside the overcrowded trains.
Cutting across party lines, chief ministers and others leaders have urged the people to follow the self-imposed curfew, noting that "social distancing" was key to breaking the chain of transmission.
States like Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan and Bihar have announced either complete or partial lockdown till month end.
No passenger train will originate from any railway station in the country from midnight to 10pm on Sunday while all suburban train services will be reduced to a bare minimum as well. Metro services, including in Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai, will remain suspended for the day.
Air carriers like GoAir, IndiGo and Vistara have announced that they will be curtailing domestic operations on Sunday.
Traders' body Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has announced that they will keep their establishments shut across the country for the 'janata curfew'.
From suspending regular prayers involving large gatherings in shrines of various faiths, including Sunday mass, to disallowing jail inmates from meeting their families on the day, organisations and institutions in every sphere have announced restrictions.
Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla has asked chief secretaries of all states to ensure that the 'janata curfew' is observed properly and to see that local bodies, fire services, police and civil defence blow sirens or ring bells on Sunday evening to express gratitude towards those involved in tackling the disease.
Describing it as the need of the hour, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had asked everyone in the country to support the step.
In Delhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said that 50 per cent of the buses will ply on roads on Sunday considering some people may have to travel due to an emergency.
Autos and taxis will, however, be off roads in the national capital as several unions including the Delhi Autorickshaw Sangh, Delhi Pradesh Taxi Union, Delhi Auto Taxi Transport Congress Union and Delhi Taxi Tourist Transport Association, have decided to join the 'janata curfew'.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had also appealed to the people of the state to stay indoors on Sunday.
"Metro trains, roadways buses and city buses will not operate on Sunday," the statement said on behalf of the chief minister.
"To curb this infection, we are working on a war footing. Isolation wards have been set up in every district hospital and medical college. So far, 23 patients have been identified in the state, out of which nine have completely recovered. There is no need to panic, but prepare yourself to fight against this challenge," the UP chief minister had said in the statement.
Leaders and other prominent personalities also urged the traders not to hoard essential items and the people to purchase only necessary things.
Tally crosses 300 in India
Novel coronavirus cases in India rose to 324 on Sunday after more cases were reported in various parts of the country, the Union Health Ministry said.
A total of16,911 samples from 16,021 individuals have been tested for SARS-CoV2as as on March 21, 6pm, the Indian Council of Medical Research said in a statement.
The figure of 324 includes 39 foreign nationals, including 17 from Italy, three from the Philippines, two from the UK, one each from Canada, Indonesia and Singapore.
It also includes four deaths - reported from Delhi, Karnataka, Punjab and Maharashtra.
(With inputs from PTI)