NEW DELHI, March 23 - The governments in Maharashtra and Punjab imposed state-wide curfew on Monday, as most of India huddled in a lockdown and airlines prepared to stop operations in desperate measures to curtail the spread of fast-spreading COVID-19, which has infected 433 people in the country so far.
The virus, which originated from China�s Wuhan nearly three months ago, has claimed over 15,000 lives globally and infected nearly 3.5 lakh people so far.
As the virus kept the upward trajectory in the country with 73 fresh cases reported since last night, state governments decided to take extraordinary measures and extend restrictions to contain the spread of COVID-19 which has killed seven people in the country so far.
Punjab on Monday became the first in the country to impose curfew in the entire state with no relaxations, and only exempted essential services to prevent the infection, while Maharshtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said curfew will be imposed in the entire state from Monday midnight as the fight against coronavirus has reached a �turning point�.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also asked state governments to ensure that rules and regulations of the coronavirus lockdown are enforced as he noted that many people are not taking the measure seriously.
�Many people are still not taking the lockdown seriously. Please save yourself, save your family, follow the instructions seriously. I request state governments to ensure rules and laws are followed,� he said in a tweet in Hindi.
Delhi, Jharkhand, and Nagaland declared a state-wide lockdown while similar curbs were announced in a number of districts in Bihar, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Several states, including Kerala, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand, had earlier imposed a partial or complete lockdown. The UT administration in Chandigarh also announced imposition of curfew from the midnight.
Those living in 80 districts across the country, including in the national capital Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai have been placed under travel and movement restrictions with authorities suspending all passenger train and inter-state bus services till March 31.
The Centre has issued directions to state governments, asking them to take legal action against those who are found violating the lockdown orders.
�States have been asked to strictly enforce the lockdown in the areas where it has been announced. Legal action will be taken against violators,� tweeted the Press Information Bureau, government�s communication wing. � PTI