The Indian Railways has cancelled all passenger trains originating between midnight and 10 pm on Sunday because of the “janata curfew” – a self-imposed lockdown – proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“All passenger trains originating between midnight of March 21/22 to 2200 hours of March 22 shall not be run,” the ministry said in a statement on Friday. However, passenger trains that are already operating by 7 am on Sunday will be allowed to reach their destinations, the statement added. “Divisions should keep a watch and trains which are empty could be short terminated, if required.” This is expected to affect about 2,400 train services.

Suburban train services in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi and Secunderabad will be reduced to a “bare minimum” so that essential travel is possible, the statement added.

All long-distance mail or express trains and intercity trains that originate between 4 am and 10 pm on Sunday will also be cancelled. But trains that are already operating at 7 am will be allowed to reach their destinations. About 1,300 services are expected to be cancelled. But in another statement issued soon after, the ministry clarified that if the long distance and inter-city trains have a huge occupancy, then the zonal railways may decide whether to cancel them or stay on schedule to prevent the stranding of a large number of passengers, according to Mid Day.

“Arrangements will be made to facilitate hassle-free refund to passengers affected by train cancellations,” the statement said. Adequate arrangements for food, water and shelter will be made at all stations, it added.

Calling on Indians to exercise restraint and social distancing, Modi had said on Thursday that it was important to not step out of homes unless necessary, and in particular it was crucial for older citizens to avoid meeting people. He then called for the “janta curfew” on Sunday and suggested that the curfew be punctuated at 5 pm by Indians taking to their balconies to clap or ring bells to express gratitude to the doctors, nurses, transport workers and others providing essential services during the pandemic.

On Friday, the total number of positive COVID-19 cases in India rose to 236. This was 63 cases more than the previous day and the largest single-day spike in cases so far. The government as well as medical experts have advised social distancing, and thereby avoiding large gatherings, as one of the major preventive measures. With this in mind, several states in India have virtually shut down to tackle the crisis. Educational institutions, and public spaces such as eateries, malls, gyms and swimming pools have been closed till the end of the month.

The Indian Railways has also taken other measures such as withdrawing concessions for most passengers to discourage non-essential travel and contain the spread of coronavirus. It has also stepped up cleaning and sanitising trains and railway stations.