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New Delhi, March 22, 2020
Streets in all Indian cities and towns wore a deserted look on Sunday as people stayed indoors in response to a "Janata Curfew" called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as part of the fight against the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that has claimed more than 11,200 lives across the globe.
In India, four people have died and 315 confirmed cases of the virus have been reported so far from different parts of the country.
Modi had called for the People's Curfew, to be observed from 7 am and 9 pm today, during a televised address to the nation on March 19.
During the address, he had also appealed to the people, except those performing essential services, to stay indoors for the next few weeks and step out of their homes only if they were performing essential services or if it was absolutely necessary.
He also appealed that the elderly, senior citizens and those above 65 years of age should not leave their homes for the next few eeks.
"This Sunday, that is on 22nd March, all citizen must abide by this people’s curfew from 7 AM until 9 PM. During this curfew, we shall neither leave our homes, nor get onto the streets or roam about our localities. Only those associated with emergency and essential services will leave their homes," he said.
"The success of a people’s curfew on 22nd March, and the experience gained from it, will also prepare us for our upcoming challenges," he said, indicating that there could be more stringent steps in the coming days and weeks if the virus continued to spread.
He also said that this evening, at 5 pm, people across the country should stand at the doors, balconies or windows of their homes and give a 5-minute ovation to those leading the fight against the virus -- -- doctors, nurses, hospital staff, sanitation workers, airlines employees, government staff, police personnel, home delivery agents, media persons, cab and autorickshaw drivers -- by clapping hands, beating plates or ringing bells to boost their morale.
As part of the "curfew", public transport, including bus services, train services and flights, have been suspended or curtailed all over the country and all markets and shops were closed.
"Let us all be a part of this curfew, which will add tremendous strength to the fight against COVID-19 menace. The steps we take now will help in the times to come. Stay indoors and stay healthy," Modi said on micro-blogging site Twitter this morning.
Chief Ministers of States and other political leaders have voiced their support for the curfew.