Passenger trains across the country will not run till March 31: Railways

New Delhi: Trains across the country will not run till March 31, the Railways said, as the number of coronavirus or COVID-19 cases crossed 300 on Saturday night in the biggest jump the country has seen. Two more coronavirus-linked deaths took place – one in Bihar and the other in Mumbai, taking the total number of deaths to six. There are 341 active coronavirus cases, the country’s nodal testing body Indian Council of Medical Research said on Sunday, as millions across India observed a 14-hour self-quarantine or “Janata Curfew” recommended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The health ministry said as of 10.45 pm on Saturday, of the 315 cases, 22 had been cured of the virus, which has globally infected more than 300,000 people and left some 13,000 dead.
At a meeting on Sunday morning, the railway board decided to stop the passenger train services. Only goods trains will keep running. The suburban trains and the Kolkata Metro services will run till Sunday night. The decision came after 12 passengers who travelled in trains on March 13 and 16 were found to be COVID-positive later. Jharkhand has already written to the Railway Board asking that trains be stopped from entering the state till March 31.
A 38-year-old man died at the Patna AIIMS who recently returned from Qatar, Bihar health secretary Sanjay Kumar said. Though the cause of death was renal failure, the man was COVID-19 positive, he added. One more death was reported from Mumbai. The patient, who was 63 years old, died of acute respiratory distress syndrome.
The government has advised states to enforce social distancing and suggested shutting down all educational institutions, gymnasiums, museums, cultural and social centres, swimming pools and theatres till March 31. Many states have suspended bus operations to prevent an exodus of daily wage earners from cities to villages. Goa, one of India’s most popular holiday destinations, has shut down its borders to mass passengers and tourist vehicles.
In Delhi, metros are not running on Sunday for the Janata Curfew. Officials say metro services will also be largely closed on Monday except for a few hours to push social distancing. The heart of the city, Connaught Place — a huge commercial area – is completely shut and deserted.
Punjab and Rajasthan have ordered a “full shutdown” until March 31, suspending all public transport and closing malls and shops. Rajasthan said food packets and wheat will be distributed among the poor. Punjab had also shut down public transport earlier.
Gujarat has announced a lockdown for four cities, Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot, and Vadodara, until Wednesday. Only shops selling essentials like vegetables, dairy products, and medical items will remain open.