The dabbawalas in Mumbai who deliver food to homes and offices will suspend services from March 20 to March 31 amid a spike in coronavirus cases in the country, ANI reported on Thursday. The Union health ministry has confirmed 42 cases of infections in Maharashtra – the highest in India. However, the state authorities have pegged the number at 49 till Thursday afternoon. A 64-year-old man had died due to it in Mumbai on Tuesday.

The dabbawalas serve thousands of people in Mumbai, and disruption in their services is likely to cause inconvenience to a significant section of the city’s population.

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Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray asked people not to step out of their homes. “We are fighting a war against coronavirus,” he said, according to ANI. “We all have to take precautionary measures, avoid unnecessary travelling. The situation is not critical but it is worrisome.”

Thackeray said he had spoken to Prime Minister Narendra Modi who promised complete cooperation from the Centre on ways to tackle the virus.

The total number of coronavirus infections in the country rose to 166 on Thursday, of whom 14 have recovered, and three people have died. Modi will address the nation on Thursday at 8 pm to talk about steps being taken against the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, the Indian Council of Medical Research said it has conducted tests on 13,316 samples from 12,426 individuals for the virus till 10 am on Thursday. Among these, 168 individuals were confirmed positive among suspected cases and contacts of known positive cases. The Union health ministry’s current testing criteria is limited to international travellers and their direct contacts.