India launches curfew to stem coronavirus

India under 14-hour lockdown amid surge in virus cases

Prime minister Narendra Modi asked the country's 1.3billion population India's population to observe a "janata curfew (people's curfew)" from 7am-9pm on Sunday to try to halt the spread of the disease. Other places have simply sent violators home, since alternatives like detention would create crowded conditions where the virus could spread.

Yet again, the man has proved his all-around mettle, as Indians rose up to the call of their leader and reciprocated with an equally overwhelming display of unity, unison, and love for the country and its people, plus of course, the ever unassuming lawmaker most commonly known as Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Due to Janta Curfew, all air carriers including Indigo, Vistara, Air India, etc suspended their domestic operations on Sunday.

At least 80 districts where cases of infection have been detected are under stringent lockdown.

The government said that all shops, commercial establishments, factories, workshops, offices, godowns, weekly markets shall stop their operations and only essential services and establishments have been exempted from the lockdown.

The government has fervently appealed for people to practice social distancing and wash their hands often.

China's Wuhan where the virus emerged imposed a two-month lockdown which is only being eased.

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The highlight of the Janata Curfew was that people in residential areas too chose to stay indoors.

It has also been made a decision to suspend the interstate bus services till March 31, the officials said.

A growing number of states and territories, including the capital New Delhi, heeded the call and banned all activity except for essential services.

"The people of this country have announced it today that we can take on and defeat as big a challenge as possible if we decide".

India has reported 415 cases of the coronavirus but health experts have warned that a big jump could be imminent, which would overwhelm the underfunded and crumbling public health infrastructure. But, the government has begun to start testing in every part of the country where people have been admitted with respiratory issues such as pneumonia.

Health ministry official Lav Agarwal said the government is seeking "unity in isolation".

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