BH CORRESPONDENT New Delhi/Mumbai/Kolkata: From the South to the North, from East to West, Indians locked themselves at home in the first dry run to fight the fast-spreading coronavirus. Millions across the country are staying indoors in response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Janta Curfew’.
“Let us all be a part of this curfew, which will add tremendous strength to the fight against COVID-19 menace. The steps we take now will help in the times to come,” PM Modi tweeted moments before the ‘Janta Curfew, came into effect.
The one-day shutdown, one of the biggest national exercises in the world, has been necessitated by the rising cases of COVID-19 across India. On Thursday, Modi had said in a 30-minute address to the nation: “There is no cure for this, so we need to remain healthy. We need to avoid crowds and stay home. Social distancing is critical. If you think you can roam around as usual and feel you will not be at risk, this is incorrect; you are endangering yourself and your family.”
The PM asked citizens to stand at their doors, windows and balconies at 5 pm and clap, clang utensils or ring bells in a show of support to those providing essential services while the entire country is on a self-quarantine mode.
A woman in Pune and a man in West Bengal — both without any history of foreign travel — tested positive for coronavirus on Saturday, raising worries about possible community transmission as COVID-19 cases in India climbed to 315 on Saturday.
Except businesses and government establishments dealing in essential items and services, all others remained shut on Sunday. Businesses have voluntarily announced they would follow the PM’s call for self-quarantine.
Transport has been severely affected across the country. No trains — long-distance or suburban — ran, but those already running won’t be stopped during the day. Several airlines, including IndiGo and GoAir, operated, but in minimum capacity. No Metro trains in Delhi, Bengaluru, Kolkata and other cities.