The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation on Friday said it would not operate on Sunday due to the “janata curfew” called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that day to tackle the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The Ministry of Health on Friday evening said there were 223 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country so far.
“In the wake of ‘janata curfew’ to be observed this Sunday ie, on 22nd March 2020, DMRC has decided to keep its services closed,” the DMRC tweeted. “The move is aimed at encouraging public to stay indoors and maintain social distancing, which is essential in the fight against COVID-19.”
In an address to the nation on Thursday evening, Modi urged citizens to face the coronavirus pandemic with collective determination and patience, to make sure that “humanity and India prevails”.
He called for a “janata curfew”, or a self-imposed people’s curfew and asked citizens to stay indoors from 7 am to 9 pm on Sunday. “Janata curfew is for the people and by the people,” he said. “Only those providing essential services should step out on Sunday.” He asked citizens to call at least 10 people every day and spread the message about the “janata curfew”.
Earlier in the day, the DMRC in an advisory asked people to avoid all non-essential travel and said it would carry out random thermal screening of passengers at all stations to contain the spread of the virus. The metro authority also announced that trains would not stop at stations which are overcrowded and have less than 1 metre of distance between passengers. A change in the frequency of trains plying on various routes is also expected, which they said will depend on the “exigencies of the situation”.
Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced the closure of all stores in malls apart from essential services such as grocery stores and pharmacies in the national Capital.