COVID-19: 75 districts across country under lockdown

Coronavirus: 75 districts under lockdown; train, bus services shut

 policeman walks along a deserted road during 'Janata curfew' in the wake of coronavirus pandemic. (PTI Photo)

As COVID-19 cases marked a sharp rise, Centre on Sunday advised state governments to impose a complete lockdown in 75 districts across the country that have reported outbreak of the disease and ordered suspension of all train services, including Metro and sub-urban services, to contain the contagion.

The drastic action came on a day when three COVID-19 deaths were reported – from Maharashtra, Gujarat and Bihar – and the number of infections rose to 370 across the country, and on a day when the entire nation observed a self-imposed curfew to break the chain of transmission of the disease.


The 75 districts are spread across 22 states, including five districts – Bangalore, Chikballapura, Mysuru, Kodagu and Kalburgi – of Karnataka.

Only essential services will operate in these 75 districts and state governments have been asked to expand the list of districts depending on their assessment of the situation. The state governments have to notify the essential services.

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India also shut off all international commercial flights from its shores for a week as part of efforts to control the spread of the disease. However, the civil aviation regulator DGCA announced that domestic flights will continue to operate.

Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba and Principal Secretary to Prime Minister P K Mishra chaired a meeting with Chief Secretaries and Health Secretaries of states to review the Covid-19 outbreak and decided on the exemplary actions.

“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,” an official statement said.

Governments of Rajasthan, Punjab, Bihar, Maharashtra, Delhi have already announced a complete lock down in the respective states to contain the spread of Covid-19.
“All offices – government and private, malls, shops, factories will be closed and public transport services will be shut down too,” Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot announced late Saturday night.

The Centre also suspended all train services, including sub-urban rail and Metro services, till March 31. However, goods trains have been exempted from this order.
“Inter-state passenger transport also to be suspended till March 31,” said an official statement released after the meeting chaired by the Cabinet Secretary.

Centre also roped in private diagnostic laboratories to conduct the Covid-19 tests in addition to the 111 national testing facilities as the number of persons subjected to testing continued to swell.

Till Sunday afternoon, as many as 60 private laboratories had received approval to conduct Covid-19 tests as per the guidelines issued by the Indian Council of Medical Affairs (ICMR).
“It is most important to avoid indiscriminate testing. A test has to be done only when a person shows symptoms,” Balram Bhargava, Director General, ICMR told reporters here.

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