New Delhi: The country is set to grind to a halt shortly as railway, metro and interstate bus services will be stopped to break the march of coronavirus, which infected close to 350 people and killed seven persons in India. The railways, which had cancelled more than 1000 trains, said it will shut passenger train services till March 31. Interstate buses and metro services will follow the same schedule. National capital Delhi, Punjab and Rajasthan, have announced a complete lockdown that involves shutting down public transport, malls and shops. A lockdown has also been announced in 75 districts across the country which saw confirmed cases of COVID-19. Only essential items will be available in these districts.
Here Are 10 Points On Coronavirus Shutdown:
At a meeting on Sunday morning, the railway board decided to stop the passenger train services till March 31. The railways said the passenger trains that are already on way will be allowed to reach their destination and adequate arrangements will be made for passengers.
"To ensure supply of essential items in various parts of the country, the movement of goods trains would continue,' a communique from the railways said.
Metro services in various cities as well as the interstate buses would follow suit. The suburban trains will run till tonight.
International flights have already been banned for a week and many airlines have talked about reducing flights.
Delhi has announced a lockdown that will keep buses, cabs, autos and rickshaws off the road. Only 25 per cent buses of the Delhi Transport Corporation will operate to aid people in essential services, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said.
Similar lockwdowns have been announced in Punjab, Rajasthan, Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Gujarat has locked down four cities -- Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot, and Vadodara, until Wednesday. Only shops selling essentials like vegetables, dairy products, and medical items will remain open.
Bengal has also opted for a partial lockdown, announcing restrictions in all the urban areas of the state from 5 pm, Monday, to March 28 midnight. While a complete transport lockdown across the state has been announced, six districts have been totally shut to check the spread of the virus. Those who violate the shutdown may face arrest, authorities said.
The government move came following a review meeting of the situation involving top officials of the Centre and the state. A communique released after the meeting read, "It was agreed that there was an urgent need to extend the restrictions on the movement of non-essential passenger transport.
So far, 12 passengers who travelled in trains on March 13 and 16 have been found to be COVID-positive. On Saturday, a couple was pulled off a Delhi-bound Rajdhani train after co-passengers noticed a home quarantine seal on the man's hand.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced a lockdown of the national capital on Sunday evening, sealing borders, shutting public transport and all shops barring those that sell essential items like food and medicines. Banks, ATMS, telecom, petrol pumps and cooking gas would also be available.