22 Mar 2020
Centre asks states to lock down 75 coronavirus-affected districts
Written bySiddhant PandeyIndia
The Centre and the states felt an "urgent need" to restrict all non-essential passenger transport till March 31.
Meanwhile, the total positive cases of coronavirus in India have doubled in the past three days, climbing to 341 on Sunday.
All but essential services to be suspended across 75 districts
At the Sunday morning meeting, Chief Secretaries of all the States were present along with the Cabinet Secretary and the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister.
All states informed that there has been an overwhelming response to the nationwide Janata Curfew.
At the meeting, the Centre asked state governments to issue orders allowing only essential services to operate in the 75 coronavirus-affected districts.
'Urgent need to restrict non-essential passenger transport till March 31'
A press note from the Cabinet Secretariat read, "There is urgent need to extend the restrictions on the movement of non-essential passenger transport including inter-state transport buses till March 31, 2020."
It added, "The state governments were advised to issue appropriate orders to allow only essential services to operate in the 75 districts which have reported confirmed cases or casualties relating to COVID-19. "
States allowed to extend lockdown to other regions if required
The Centre, however, noted that several state governments have already issued orders to lockdown some districts. The Centre also allowed the states to extend the restrictions to other regions "depending on their assessment of the situation."
All trains, Metros, inter-state buses suspended till March 31
It was at this meeting that the decision to suspend all passenger train services till March 31 was taken. Only goods trains will be allowed to run until the month's end.
Further, it was decided that all metro rail services will also remain suspended till March 31.
Inter-state passenger transport has also been suspended till March 31.
341 coronavirus cases reported in India; death toll 6
Over the past few days, the number of coronavirus cases in India has increased significantly.
Till Sunday, India had reported 341 confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Although state-wise data is unavailable, Maharashtra confirmed 74 COVID-19 cases till Sunday morning (the highest in the country).
On Sunday, the national death toll of the disease also jumped to six, with two new deaths reported in Patna and Mumbai.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 was first reported in China's Wuhan city in December 2019. The disease is caused by a novel coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2.
The virus attacks a host's respiratory system triggering symptoms such as fever, cough, and breathing difficulties.
In severe cases, it may cause pneumonia, multiple organ failure, or death.
COVID-19 has spread to at least 150 countries, killing over 13,000 and sickening 3 lakh.