Workers sanitise the Parliament house as a precautionary measure against coronavirus, in New Delhi on Saturday. (PTI)
NEW DELHI :
Chief Ministers and others leaders urged the people to follow self-imposed curfew from 7 am to 9 pm
THE country will be observing an unprecedented shutdown on Sunday following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal for a ‘Janata curfew’, where people have been urged to stay indoors voluntarily to check the spread of coronavirus while public transport will be suspended or curtailed and all markets and shops except those dealing in essential items will be closed on the day.
Cutting across party lines, Chief Ministers and others leaders urged the people to follow the self-imposed curfew from 7 am to 9 pm, noting that “social distancing” was key to breaking the chain of infection, as the number of coronavirus cases rose to 283 after 60 new cases were detected on Saturday, the highest so far in a day, and States like Maharashtra, Odisha and Bihar imposed partial lockdown till month end. No passenger train will originate from any railway station in the country from midnight to 10 pm on Sunday while all suburban train services will be reduced to a bare minimum as well. Metro services, including in Delhi, 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 Sunday. From suspending regular prayers 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 for Sunday. Modi had on Thursday called for the ‘Janata curfew’ from 7 am to 9 pm on March 22, saying no citizen, barring those in essential services, should get out of their houses, and asserted that it will be a litmus test to show India’s readiness to take on the coronavirus challenge.
Describing it as the need of the hour, Union Home Minister Amit Shah asked everyone in the country to support the step. In a series of tweets, Shah also asked all citizens to express gratitude to those who are working round the clock to keep the country safe and healthy amid the pandemic. Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu too made a fervent appeal to the people of the country to confine themselves to homes on Sunday. He said that since the virus spreads through physical contact, social distancing is an effective measure to contain its spread by avoiding contact during the incubation period of the virus. “Janata curfew should be seen in the largest context of the initiative to insulate people with their voluntary involvement.
It is a matter of great assurance that people have responded very positively to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal. People remaining indoors and social distancing are part of measures to curb the contagion virus,” Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Saturday. In Delhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said 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 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.
“Coronavirus is in the second stage all over the country. It will convey a big message to the entire world if we are successful in stopping this at this stage,” he said. Leaders also urged the traders not to hoard essential items and the people to purchase only necessary things. “We can prevent the virus entering third stage if people stay indoors and for that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced Janata Curfew on March 22,” Tamil Superstar Rajinikanth said in a video message. Archbishop of Goa Filipe Neri Ferrao cancelled the Sunday mass at all churches in support of the call for “janata” curfew to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. In Delhi too, St Peter’s Mar Thomas Syrian Church, Patparganj and Cathedral Church of Redemption in central Delhi have cancelled Sunday mass and all services for next week, sources said. Prominent Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband in Uttar Pradesh said it will remain closed on March 22 and asked its students not to go outside. The Jammu and Kashmir Waqf Board announced suspension of regular prayers at mosques and shrines affiliated to it in the Kashmir valley as a preventive measure to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
‘Never forget - precautions not panic’: PM appeals to countrymen on COVID-19
NEW DELHI :
PRIME Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday urged the countrymen not to panic in wake of coronavirus spread and take precautions to prevent any risk to their lives from the lethal infection. “Never forget - precautions not panic! It is not only important to be home but also remain in the town/ city where you are. Unnecessary travel will not help you or others. In these times, every small effort on our part will leave a big impact,” said Prime Minister Modi in a tweet. He further requested people in home quarantine to follow the advise of doctors and authorities in order to protect their friends and family.
“This is the time we should all listen to the advise given by doctors and authorities. All those who have been told to stay in home quarantine, I urge you to please follow the instructions. This will protect you as well as your friends and family,” he said. The Prime Minister has also given a call for a ‘Janata Curfew’ from 7 am to 9 pm on Sunday in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak to prepare for challenges of the future.