Indian Railways has cancelled all passenger train services in the country till March 31 amid rising coronavirus cases, reported PTI, citing a Ministry of Railways order. This came on the day India registered two new deaths related COVID-19 – one in Bihar and another in Maharashtra. There are 324 people in the country who have tested positive so far.
The ministry has said that only goods trains will operate from March 22 midnight till March 31 midnight. It added that minimum suburban services, and Kolkata Metro will continue operations till the midnight of March 22.
During a meeting on Sunday morning, railway authorities reportedly decided to stop the train services. As of now, 400 mail or express trains are operational. Once they complete their trip, no other train will begin journey from any railway station, News18 reported earlier, citing unidentified railway sources. All major railway stations will be vacated to prevent crowding of passengers.
States, including Odisha, Rajasthan, and Maharashtra, have already announced a partial or complete shutdown. Maharashtra, Goa, Bihar and West Bengal sealed their borders for buses coming into the state from March 22 to March 31.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has also called for the suspension of the long-distance trains, and the chief minister has alleged that some states were sending people back after they “failed to stop spread of the virus”.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged migrants to not travel back to their homes amid growing concerns related to coronavirus.