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Lockdown in 75 coronavirus-hit districts; no trains, Metros, interstate buses till March 31

Authorities on Sunday said 75 districts affected by the novel coronavirus will be locked down and no trains, Metros and interstate buses will operate till March 31 as the number of Covid-19 cases soared to 370, in the biggest jump the country has seen so far.

Bihar and Maharashtra reported two more Covid-19 linked deaths taking the total number of fatalities related to the disease to six across the country.

The decision to stop the transport services was taken after chief secretaries of all states held a meeting with the cabinet secretary and principal secretary.

‘In the view of the need to contain the spread of COVID-19, it was agreed that there is an urgent need to extend the restrictions on the movement of non-essential passenger transport including inter-state transport buses till 31st March 2020,’ a government release said.

‘Following detailed discussions, the state governments were advised to issue appropriate orders to allow only essential services to operate in 75 districts which have reported confirmed cases or causalities sting to COVID-19,’ it said.

This comes after the Indian Railways issued a similar order earlier in the day, saying all passengers trains across the country will not run till March 31.

The order issued by the ministry of railways said goods trains will continue to run to ensure essential services and that all suburban trains services, including those on the Central and Western Railway, will also be stopped till March 31.

‘All originating long-distance mail/Express and Intercity trains (including premium trains) and all originating passenger trains shall remain cancelled till 2400 hours of 31.03.2020,’ it said in a circular.

The Union housing and urban affairs ministry also issued a message to directors of all Metro rail companies across the country asking them to suspend services on all operational networks till March 31.

‘Now in view of the current global pandemic of this Corona Virus, for containing its further spread through inter-personal proximity, it has been decided to close down metro rail services on all operational networks across the country till 31st March 2020,’ DS Mishra, the Union urban development secretary, said.

The official also asked the Metro management to circulate the information among the commuters so that they don’t face any inconvenience.

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