New Delhi: According to various reports from officials, the Center and state governments have decided to lockdown at least 75 districts in the country that are likely to face difficulties due to the coronavirus scare. Along with the lockdown, inter-state bus services too will be suspended till March 31, officials said. These decisions were taken in a high-level meeting that was attended by chief secretaries of all states and the cabinet secretary and the principal secretary to the prime minister.

The state governments will soon issue orders that will allow just bare essential items to be operated in these 75 districts that has been confirmed positive for the virus or reported for causalities. The states in the country where selected districts will be locked down are Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu.

Several state governments have already issued orders in this regard. The state governments may extend the current list of districts that will face lock down after accessing the situation in those places. Kerala officials said although they have received instructions from the center, they have not decided to lockdown the districts so far.

According to the current figures, the total number of novel coronavirus cases in the country rose to 341 on Sunday after fresh cases were reported from various parts of the country, the Union Health Ministry said.

Decisions on Railways

At a meeting attended by the who’s who of the country, it was decided that train services will remain suspended till March 31 and this will include the sub-urban rail services too. However, goods trains will be exempted from this list. Goods trains too will be allowed to run from the midnight of March 22 to the midnight of March 31, says the Indian Railways. All metro services too will be suspended till March 31. Also, trains finishing their journeys will be terminated at the point.

“All passenger train services on Indian Railways including premium train services, mail/express trains, passenger trains, suburban trains, Kolkata Metro, Konkan Railways,etc, will be cancelled till March 31,” the Railways said in a statement. The Indian railways also said that very few sub-urban services including the Kolkata Metro service, will continue till the midnight of March 22 and will stop services till March 31 midnight. The Railways board meeting conducted today took the final decision as above. The railways also noted that the trains that had already begun their journey prior to 4.00 am on March 22 will run up to their destinations. The railways also promised to provide the complete refund of the money on ticket booking for all cancelled trains till March 21. “Adequate arrangements shall be made for the passengers, who have commenced their journey during the travel and at their destinations,” the Railways statement added.

The Railways had earlier decided to cancel all passenger trains on today to support the Janata Curfew call given by the Prime Minister. This decision was taken in view of the fact that the demand for rail travel would be vastly reduced during the Janata Curfew, said the Ministry of Railways.

In his address to the nation on Thursday, Prime Minister Nrendra Modi urged people to observe ‘Janata Curfew on March 22 from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm. Under the Janata Curfew, the PM appealed people to stay away from public places and self-isolate themselves in their homes. This pandemic is known to have claimed over 13,000 lives worldwide as of now.