Amid the coronavirus outbreak that affected more than 400 people in India so far, prompting unprecedented lockdown measures from the government, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has asked its units to scale down operations.
“All investigation teams outside their respective headquarters may be recalled with immediate effect,” a memo from the Joint Director Administration (JDA) to all units of the Central Bureau of Investigation seen by NDTV said.
CBI Director RK Shukla in his message to officers of the agency added, “Friends, given the prevailing situation, please ensure the safety of all your employees and their families as suggested by JDA. “
“The courts are closed. All work should wait for another week. Minimum movement. We are not first responders and should withdraw. Telephonic and emergent presence should be retained through intra-branch WhatsApp groups,” it added.
The government has announced strict restrictions to check the spread of the highly contagious COVID-19, banning gatherings of more than five people in several states including Maharashtra, which has had the highest number of cases. It warned of legal action against people violating the ban.
New Delhi will be under lockdown until March 31, the Aam Aadmi Party government announced on Sunday, seeking to keep citizens indoors to prevent the spread of coronavirus that emerged in China's Wuhan last year and has killed nearly 15,000 people across the world.
In the financial hub of Mumbai, the state capital, suburban trains, which usually carry 80 lakh people a day, were suspended until the end of the month. Bus services were limited to people in essential services such as healthcare.
The lockdown was announced hours after crores of Indians heeded Prime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal for people to self-isolate for a day to contain the spread of the disease with a “Janata Curfe”.
While Sunday's curfew was voluntary and not an outright ban on movement, it was followed by series of announcements by states to continue the lockdown till the end of March.
At least 75 districts across the country where cases of coronavirus have been detected have been put under a tight lockdown.
The Indian Railways, which carries more than 2.5 crore commuters a day, cancelled all passenger train services until March 31.