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Janata Curfew observed across region

By Correspondent

AIZAWL, March 22 - Along with the rest of the country, Janata Curfew � as announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi � that aimed to check the spread of COVID-19 was fully observed in Mizoram on Sunday.

In Aizawl, the streets were devoid of vehicles, except for those of police and medical personnel, and pedestrians, police said.

There were two or three incidents of violation of the curfew. In one instance in Durtlang locality, a few people who were playing cards at someone�s house were ordered to go home by the locality�s information centre.

Since Saturday afternoon, people were reminded of the curfew and told to stay home by the public information centres in different localities of Aizawl. Official reports said the curfew was observed in all the district headquarters, towns and villages.

Meanwhile, the Mizoram Cabinet on Saturday night decided to impose state-wide partial lockdown starting from Sunday till March 29. The Cabinet was acting on the recommendation of the State Level Task Force on Mitigation of COVID-19, headed by the chief secretary, in accordance with the authority given by the Mizoram Epidemic Diseases (COVID-19) Regulations, 2020, an official statement said.

All shops and business establishments, excluding drug stores and shops selling essential commodities, would remain closed during the period. No commercial vehicles, including transport buses, city buses, taxis and private vehicles, would be allowed to ply on the roads. Those exempted include ambulance, fire tender, vehicles used for medical and law enforcement purposes, vehicles carrying accreditated journalists and vehicles carrying essential commodities.

All people, except for those involved in medical and law and order duties and in essential services, would be banned from leaving their homes.

Entry points along the international and inter-state borders would be closed and only vehicles carrying essential items and emergency services like ambulances would be allowed to enter the state.

Till date, no positive case has been detected in the state. As of Sunday, 58,930 people have been screened, of which 178 who returned from COVID-19 affected countries are being quarantined. As many as 1,838 people who returned from other Indian states have been advised home quarantine.

At 5 pm, as per Prime Minister Modi�s request, there was loud applause by the public for the numerous health personnel involved in the drive against coronavirus and other emergency services.

Our Imphal Correspondent adds: The 14-hour Janata Curfew to break the chain of the coronavirus infections was also observed in Manipur.

The usually busy roads, including those in the state capital and hill districts, wore a deserted look as residents stayed indoors to counter the threat from COVID-19.

All roads in Imphal were deserted since dawn, and markets and business establishments including the iconic Ima Keithel (mother�s market) remained closed. The women�s markets in Imphal which have been closed since March 21, will remain shut till March 25.

Except a few police personnel on duty, movement of the public was not seen during the day.

�The Janata Curfew was very effective in our district headquarters,� said a resident of the Tamenglong district headquarters, 150 km west of Imphal. There were similar responses from residents of other hill towns when contacted.

But the silence was broken suddenly at 5 pm, when the state authority played the siren for one minute in front of the GM Hall in Imphal, followed by sounds of clapping and beating of utensils in residential areas as a mark of solidarity with health officials and emergency workers who are working tirelessly in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The district authorities on Sunday issued prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) as part of a strategy to control the spread of COVID-19, with immediate effect till March 31. Through separate orders, the District Magistrates prohibited assembly of four or more persons besides restricting public gatherings. However, the order shall not apply to government agencies involved in the enforcement of law and order and essential services.

Our Itanagar Correspondent adds: Janata Curfew, the self-imposed home isolation, was observed by the people of Arunachal Pradesh along with the rest of the country on Sunday.

During the 14-hour curfew, people willingly stayed indoors, as the busy streets and markets across the state wore a deserted look. In the evening, people came out at 5 pm in appreciation of doctors, nurses, healthcare workers and other emergency service staff who are risking their lives to fight the coronavirus outbreak, by ringing bells, beating metal plates, blowing conch shells and clapping.

The Raj Bhavan also observed Janata Curfew as Governor Brig (retd) Dr BD Mishra cancelled all appointments and engagements for the day and stayed indoors.

The Governor said the Janata Curfew will break the chain of the spread of coronavirus infection, and called for full social isolation, avoiding gatherings, reducing non-essential movement, physical distancing in public places and staying at home as precautions.

He appealed to the people to rise to the occasion and have humanitarian and fellow citizenship approach by avoiding unwanted hoarding of things and continuing payment to workers.

The Governor urged the people to follow the government notifications on precautionary measures till the COVID-19 threat dies. He requested all citizens coming from outside the state to go for home quarantine for the mandatory period of 14 days.

The Governor and his wife Neelam Misra participated in the thanksgiving to the people involved in essential services by standing at the main entrance of Raj Bhavan and clapping for five minutes. He hoped that due to the dedication and efforts of such people, alertness of police and preparedness of the civil administration, the state will succeed in combating COVID-19.

PTI adds from Itanagar: The Northeast Frontier Railway cancelled the Naharlagun-Guwahati Donyi Polo Intercity Express for the day, officials said. Chief Minister Pema Khandu, who extended support to the Janata Curfew initiative, urged people to stay indoors and take precautions in the wake of the pandemic.

Our Tura Correspondent adds: The entire Garo Hills came to an absolute standstill with everyone, except for those providing essential services, staying indoors amidst the call for Janata Curfew given by the Prime Minister.

Shops and establishments remained shut throughout the day, with citizens thanking the people who are providing essential services by clapping, clanging utensils and playing the conch as requested by the Prime Minister at 5 pm.

However in some places, like Phulbari, pharmacies remained closed much to the chagrin of locals.

During the day, only vehicles performing essential duties were seen plying on the streets of all towns across the region. Church services remained suspended, and in some cases, were enacted without the presence of a religious gathering. The service was live-streamed to members of the Church who attended it in the safety of their homes.

As per information received from the administration, the day passed off peacefully without any untoward incident.

Meanwhile, in an effort to eliminate chances of community risk, the Commissioner and Secretary, Health and Family Welfare Department, Government of Meghalaya, has informed that health authorities will put a stamp stating �Proudly Under Home Isolation from ... (Date)� with indelible ink on the back of the palm on the left hand. This will be done to all those who have been advised to be home quarantined. The stamping is expected to come into force with immediate effect.

PTI adds from Shillong: Meghalaya witnessed a near-total shut down on Sunday as markets remained closed and vehicles off the roads following Prime Minister Narendra Modi�s Janata Curfew call in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. People stayed indoors since Friday night amid the 24-hour lockdown ordered by the state government on Saturday.

The Janata Curfew was almost total in Meghalaya. Markets were closed and business establishments cooperated. Vehicles also did not ply. Even the churches were closed, a senior Home department official told PTI.

In the state capital, the shutdown was total, he said, adding that there was minimal traffic on the roads and the highways as everyone chose to stay home.

The COVID-19 response teams were tracking down every single person with a history of travelling outside the state in the past two weeks, even as almost every foreign national and tourist was being mapped and put on 14 days of self-quarantine, the official said.

At least 3,000 students and professionals who returned to their hometowns in the state have been tracked and asked to go on home-quarantine, he said.

Meghalaya is yet to report any case of COVID-19. The Shillong-based North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences has been notified as the testing node for the states in the region.

Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma said his government has taken several measures to ensure identifying those coming back to the state. He urged medical volunteers to come forward and register themselves with the respective deputy commissioners as the state geared itself in preparation for any emerging situation.

PTI adds from Gangtok: All major towns in Sikkim wore a deserted look on Sunday as people stayed indoors following Prime Minister Narendra Modi�s call of observing Janata Curfew in the wake of the deadly coronavirus.

Vehicles remained largely off the roads in Gangtok, Deorali, Tadong, Rangpo, Mangan, Namchi and Jorethang, except those on emergency services.

Shops and other business establishments, barring a few pharmacies and petrol pumps, too remained shut across the state as people joined the voluntary 14-hour curfew that began at 7 am.

Authorities in all the four districts issued orders directing people to remain indoors on Sunday, except in case of emergency.

Chief Secretary SC Gupta directed the local authorities to take all measures for the enforcement of the Janata Curfew in a bid to contain the pandemic.

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