Coronavirus in India: As cases spike, states and districts start lockdown, only essential services allowed

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Coronavirus Outbreak: Reacting to the urgency regarding the coronavirus outbreak, the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet Secretary held a meeting on Sunday morning with the Chief Secretaries of all the states. A statement by the Cabinet Secretariat stated that the Chief Secretaries of all the states said that so far, there had been an overwhelming response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal for 'Janata Curfew' on Sunday from 7 am to 9 pm.

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A key highlight of the meeting was that the state governments were told to stop all non-essential services in the 75 districts where positive cases or casualties of coronavirus have occurred, effectively locking down the districts. Apart from this, the state governments have also been given the discretion to expand the list as they feel is needed.

With coronavirus having affected districts like Dharwad in Karnataka and Panchkula in Haryana, the lockdown of all affected districts has become the need of the hour. Numerous states and districts have now announced a lockdown, including Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Tackeray, who said that considering the precarious situation in the state, he has been left with no choice but to impose Section 144 of CrPC. Dharwad district has also announced a lockdown, banning the entry and exit of all vehicles into and from the district.

Delhi will also be placed under Section 144 from 9 pm on Sunday to the midnight intervening March 31 and April 1. Moreover, apart from Punjab, Union Territory of Chandigarh has also announced a complete lockdown, except for essential services, till March 31.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat also announced a lock down of the state, stating that the Janata Curfew in the state will continue till March 31. Meanwhile, the Bengaluru city has imposed Section 144 after the Janata Curfew ends, from 9 pm to 12 midnight on Sunday. While West Bengal has also suspended the movement of all non-essential cargo goods till March 31, the Tamil Nadu government has decided to continue the Janata Curfew till 5 am on Monday.

Meanwhile, the services of Indian Railways and all metros across the country will also be suspended till March 31.

India has been witnessing a steep rise in the number of coronavirus cases in India since the end of February, after which India stepped up its vigil, in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus. However, despite its efforts, the toll for coronavirus infections in India has reached 341 cases as of 2.30 pm on Sunday.