India Reacts To PM Modi's "Janata Curfew" Call To Fight Coronavirus: 10 Points

Indian Railways, airlines like GoAir and IndiGo and a number of state governments have responded positively to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call for a "Janata curfew" between 7 am and 9 pm on Sunday

India Reacts To PM Modi's 'Janata Curfew' Call To Fight Coronavirus: 10 Points

A large number of states have responded positively to PM Modi's call for a "Janata" curfew on Sunday

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Janata (public) curfew" comes into force at 7 am on Sunday and will run till 9 pm, a period of 14 hours, as the country bids to stop the chain of transmission of the novel coronavirus. The Prime Minister called for the curfew, seen as a test run for more intensive social distancing over the next few days, during a televised address on Thursday night. "Under this Janata curfew, no one should leave their home or gather in their neighbourhoods. Only those related to essential services should go out," the Prime Minister said. The curfew call was praised online as opposition leaders and sports and film stars lent their support. Various state governments have also responded - by limiting public transportation and closing non-essential businesses. Overall over 300 people have been infected by COVID-19 in the country, with at least four deaths linked to the virus. Worldwide nearly 10,000 people have died and over 2.3 lakh have been infected.

Here are the top 10 points in this big story:

  1. "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," Prime Minister Modi said in his 29-minute address to the nation earlier this week. This was after the international flights were banned for a week starting Sunday.

  2. "At 5 pm, we will stand at our balconies, windows or doors for five minutes and we will applaud those maintaining essential services by ringing bells, sounding sirens and clapping...," the Prime Minister added. Videos of residents of an apartment complex in Karnataka's Bengaluru rehearsing for that moment emerged online Friday evening.

  3. Indian Railways has cancelled passenger trains from midnight Saturday to 10 pm on Sunday "keeping in view that demand for train travel will be vastly reduced". Trains already running at this point will be allowed to reach their destinations and passengers whose tickets have been cancelled will get "hassle-free refunds", the Railways said. Suburban services in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi and Secunderabad will be reduced to a "bare minimum".

  4. Airlines have also joined the "Janata curfew" chorus, with domestic carrier GoAir suspending all flights for Sunday. IndiGo has said it will halt 40 per cent of domestic flights. App-based taxis Ola and Uber will also be off the streets.

  5. Delhi Metro will shut down entirely on Sunday during the "Janata curfew". "The move is aimed at encouraging (the) public to stay indoors and maintain social distancing, which is essential in the fight against COVID-19," the agency said in a Twitter statement on Friday. Public buses will run but only on 50 per cent of the routes. According to the Union Health Ministry, there are 26 confirmed cases in Delhi. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, whose administration has shut down malls, cinemas and educational institutions to prevent the virus from spreading, said he would "lock down Delhi, if needed, to save your life".

  6. Maharashtra, which has recorded the most number of COVID-19 positive cases (63, so far), has suspended the Mumbai Metro One service. This route runs between Ghatkopar and Versova and is widely used by people to cut down travel time between western and central suburbs. In a Twitter statement, the Mumbai Metro said: "In continuation of our fight against COVID-19 and in support of the Prime Minister's appeal of Mumbai Metro One suspends operations no Sunday to encourage people to stay at home".

  7. The Haryana government has suspended all public bus service in the state for the duration of the "Janata curfew". Transport Minister Mool Chand Sharma was quoted by news agency PTI as saying: "The state government is working at every level to tackle the spread of the coronavirus". Haryana has also banned large gatherings under Section 144 as a precautionary measure. There are 17 COVID-19 cases in the state, 14 of whom are foreigners. Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh, where more than 20 cases have been reported, will close metro and city bus services, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said.

  8. Southern states Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, which have reported 39 cases between them, have halted metro services; Tamil Nadu has also stopped bus services. Petrol dealers and hotel associations in Tamil Nadu will support the curfew and beaches, including the popular Marina Beach, will remain shut. Karnataka has ordered all bars and restaurants to close. In Telangana, where 10 Indonesian nationals have been infected, Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao has asked people to voluntarily follow the curfew. Cinemas, bars, pubs and club, which had been closed last week, will remain closed, as will schools and colleges.

  9. The Odisha and Bihar governments have also announced large-scale closures across major cities and towns. In Odisha five districts will experience "near-total" shutdown, according to PTI. Bihar has closed bus services, restaurants and banquet halls.

  10. A number of sports stars, actors and opposition leaders took to Twitter on Friday to lend their support for the "Janata curfew". Among them were Indian cricketers Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dawan, tennis legend Mahesh Bhupathi and ace shuttler Saina Nehwal. Actors Hrithik Roshan, Ajay Devgn, Anupam Kher and Akshay Kumar also tweeted, as did actor-turned-politicians Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth. TDP chief and former Andhra Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and NCP leader Supriya Sule also offered support.

With input from PTI