New Delhi: India woke up to a ‘janata curfew’ Sunday, as the country shut itself indoors to combat the spread of COVID-19, the pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus.
The ‘janata curfew’ was called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his televised address to the nation Thursday, and will last from 7am to 9pm.
Streets wore a deserted look, with public transport and even train services shut across the states. Marketplaces, restaurants, gyms, bars and liquor shops were already closed in many cities days before the ‘janata curfew’ as a precautionary measure.
The Indian Railways has cancelled 3,700 long distance and passenger trains scheduled for Sunday. Major airlines have also implemented a partial reduction or a complete shutdown of their services Sunday to support the call. GoAir has announced that it will voluntary all flights on the day.
GoAir: We will voluntarily suspend all flights on Sunday March 22, in support of the Janta Curfew proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. We will protect all the PNRs dated 22 March 2020, for a period of one year under the 'Protect Your PNR' scheme. #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/eU6F3HzOAM
— ANI (@ANI) March 20, 2020
Cab aggregators like Uber and Ola will be functional for anyone who needs to avail of cabs in an emergency situation, although the companies are encouraging drivers to stay home.
Here’s what the situation is like in various parts of the country.
Though a majority of the city is empty, in a few areas like Ashram, public transport as well as private vehicles have been spotted.
Shutdowns have been called by the Delhi Auto Union and the Delhi Metro, which tweeted:
— Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (@OfficialDMRC) March 22, 2020
Police have been offering flowers to people out on streets, requesting them to stay indoors.
Neighbouring NOIDA wears a deserted look, with usual choke points such as Film City and Sector 18 chowk devoid of any traffic. Vehicles are being checked when entering Uttar Pradesh from Delhi on the DND Flyway, but not in the other direction.
India’s financial capital has responded to the ‘janata curfew’ call with an unprecedented shutdown. Anurag Gawde, a resident of Andheri, told ThePrint: “We can’t believe it’s Mumbai. We can hear sound of birds today; it’s soothing.”
In Nagpur and many other cities across India, the police have been urging people to vacate public spaces through loudspeakers. All private and corporate establishments in Nagpur, except those providing essential services, are shut.
In Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand, sanitation workers are out to clean main roads and chowks. Zack Allen, a resident of Harmu Housing Colony told ThePrint that it’s “an opportune time to get these things done”, as these streets remain busy on other days.
Although some vehicular movement has been witnessed on Tamil Nadu’s major roads, these were largely private vehicles. Public and private buses, autos and taxis have stayed off the roads in most parts of the state.
Chennai’s arterial roads, including the Anna Salai and the GST Road, have remained empty.
(With inputs from PTI)