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Coronavirus | 80 districts in lockdown to contain virus spread

The deserted Girgaum area in South Mumbai on March 22, 2020.

The deserted Girgaum area in South Mumbai on March 22, 2020.   | Photo Credit: Vivek Bendre

With first deaths reported in Bihar and Gujarat, toll rises to 7; inter-State transport, suburban trains, bus services suspended.

All train, metro and inter-State transport services across the country were suspended on Sunday till March 31 as the death toll from COVID-19 rose to seven nationwide, and the number of confirmed cases stood at 396. Unprecedented restrictions were imposed in 80 districts across 17 States and five Union Territories affected by the pandemic. 

The Union Health Ministry said Bihar and Gujarat had reported their first casualties from COVID-19. A 38-year-old man with a kidney ailment and recent travel history to Qatar died at AIIMS-Patna and a 67-year-old man died at a hospital in Surat. Another death of a 63-year-old man was reported from Mumbai.

COVID-19 | Interactive map of confirmed coronavirus cases in India

Only essential services

“State governments will issue orders allowing only essential services to operate in districts with confirmed COVID-19 cases. The focus should be on closure of all activities except essential services such as hospitals, telecom, medicine shops and provision stores,” an official release said. 

Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba described the new measures as further “pre-emptive” actions, given the “sharp increase” in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country after curbs on international travel, contact tracing and efforts at social distancing. 

Indicating that the ‘Janata Curfew’ on Sunday was a precursor of more stringent measures, Mr. Gauba, in a letter to the Chief Secretaries, said the States need to “build on the momentum” of the 14-hour lockdown.

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Calling on the States to operate transport within their boundaries at a “skeletal level”, the Centre said all these measures were temporary in nature but “vital to break” the chain of transmission of the pandemic. 

Earlier in the day, the Railways announced suspension of all passenger services until March 31, including all suburban train services. Only goods trains will run during the period, the Railways said, adding that trains that had commenced their journey prior to 4 a.m. on March 22 would complete their journeys.

Joint Secretary in the Health Ministry Lav Agarwal said the nature of “essential services” would be decided by the individual States. “We want to control the movement of people,” he said at a press briefing.

Coronavirus | 80 districts in lockdown to contain virus spread
 

In response to questions, Mr. Agarwal was clear that more districts could be brought under curbs if they were affected by COVID-19. According to him, the lockdown was temporary in nature. 

Barring essential services like hospitals, fire, prisons, banks and newspapers, States were conscious to ensure that the production and provisioning of medical supplies continued uninterrupted, he said. 

According to the Health Ministry, Maharashtra continues with the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases at 67, followed by Kerala with 52 and Delhi, 29. Uttar Pradesh had 27 cases, Karnataka has 26, Rajasthan 24, Telangana 22 and Haryana 21.

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The Delhi Government closed its borders to Uttar Pradesh and Haryana and announced it would run a skeletal bus service.

However its announcement that all domestic flights had been suspended from Monday morning was contested by the Director-General of Civil Aviation, which said: “Domestic flights to and from IGIA Delhi shall continue to operate and the airport shall remain functional.” 

In his letter, Mr. Gauba also suggested that State governments could request industries / establishments allow their staff to work from home and “provide renumeration to them during this period”. 

The Cabinet Secretary said States could also take appropriate measures to help poor and vulnerable sections, including casual workers, in order to mitigate any hardships that might be caused.

(With PTI inputs) 

Click here to view districtwise breakup

Districtwise break-up

StateDistrict
Andhra Pradesh

Prakasam, Vijayawada,

Visakhapatnam

ChandigarhChandigarh
ChhattisgarhRaipur
Delhi

Central, East Delhi, North Delhi, North West Delhi,

North East Delhi, South Delhi, West Delhi

Gujarat

Kuutchh, Rajkot, Gandhinagar Surat,

Vadodara, Ahmedabad

Haryana

Faridabad, Sonepat, Panchkula,

Panipat, Gurugram

Himachal Pradesh

Kangra

UT of J&K

Srinagar, Jammu

Karnataka

Bangalore, Chikkaballapura, Mysore,

Kodagu, Kalaburgi

Kerala

Alappuzha, Ernakulam, Iduki, Kannur, Kasaragod, Kottayam,

Mallapuram, Pathanamthitta, Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur

UT of Ladakh

Kargil, Leh

Madhya Pradesh

Jabalpur

Maharashtra

Ahmednagar, Aurangabad, Mumbai, Nagpur, Mumbai suburb,

Pune, Ratnagiri, Raigad, Thane, Yavatmal

Odisha

Khurda

Puducherry

Mahe

Punjab

Hoshiarpur, SAS nagar, SBS Nagar

Rajasthan

Bilwara, Jhunjhunu, Sikar, Jaipur

Tamil Nadu

Chennai, Erode, Kanchipuram

Telangana

Bhadradri Kothagudam, Hyderabad, Medchai,

Ranga Reddy, Sanga Reddy

Uttar Pradesh

Agra, GB Nagar, Ghaziabad, Varanasi,

Lakhimpur Kheri, Lucknow

Uttarakhand

Dehradun

West Bengal

Kolkata, North 24 Parganas

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 1:42:57 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/coronavirus-india-locks-down-80-districts-to-contain-virus-spread/article31134567.ece

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