Amid a surge in coronavirus cases, a 14-hour lockdown started in India at 7 am (0130GMT) Sunday after Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged a public curfew to help check the spread of coronavirus.
In a televised public address on Thursday, Modi appealed for patience and observing a self-imposed curfew from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. (0130GMT-1130GMT).
India on Saturday witnessed its biggest surge yet in coronavirus cases, with 80 new people testing positive. According to the latest Health Ministry data, cases so far total 324, with a death toll of six (up from four), while 22 people have been cured or discharged.
Among the two additional deaths, a 38-year-old man died at the All India Institute of Medical Science in the eastern state of Bihar on Saturday, and samples of his bodily tissues tested positive for coronavirus.
Another patient, a 63-year-old, died in Mumbai on Sunday, said a health official.
With the lockdown, roads in all most cities looked deserted, with public transport closed for the day. In Delhi, all markets have remained closed, except those dealing in essential goods and services.
The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), which represents the business community, decided to close business establishments in Delhi for the next three days to stem the virus’ spread.
In a series of tweets, Modi urged migrants not to travel to their hometowns to curb the spread.
“Let us all be a part of this curfew, which will add tremendous strength to the fight against the COVID-19 menace,” said Modi.
Meanwhile, many state governments announced local lockdowns for March 21-31. States like Maharashtra, Orrisa, Bihar, Rajasthan and Gujarat have announced either a total or partial lockdown in their states.
Indian Railways has said that no passenger train will originate from any railway station in the country from midnight to 10 pm on Sunday. Metro services in Delhi, Hyderabad, and Mumbai will remain suspended on Sunday.
Many airlines also reduced their domestic operations on Sunday