All Domestic Commercial Flights To Be Stopped Indefinitely (Photo Credit: PTI)
To contain the further spread of novel coronavirus, the Civil Aviation Ministry on Monday announced that the all domestic commercial flights will be stopped indefinitely from midnight today (11.59PM/March 24). However, the ministry further added that the cargo services have been exempted from the restrictions. Earlier today, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wrote to PM Narendra Modi for instructions to stop all incoming flights to the state. The state government has taken all steps to counter the spread of the virus, but is seriously concerned that the government of India is still allowing operation of flights, which is "a huge breach of shutdown and quarantine protocol", says Banerjee's letter to Modi.
The letter requests Modi govt to issue "necessary instructions to stop all flights coming to West Bengal with immediate effect", so that the source of the infection is effectively contained and "lockdown in the state is implemented in true letter and spirit". Meanwhile, it was announced that Kolkata and several other areas across Bengal will be under lockdown from Monday 5 pm to March 27.
Earlier, on the first day of the government-imposed shutdown in various parts of India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to point out that people are still not taking the lockdown seriously. Currently 13 states and 80 districts are in complete lockdown, barring essential services, while citizens have asked to minimise interaction at every level to stop the spread of novel coronavirus.
The lockdown orders were issued after Indian followed a 14-hour-long Janata Curfew appealed by the prime minister. While the purpose of the whole exercise was to increase isolation, many people were seen taking large gatherings or even celebrating together during the curfew on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the centre has asked states to strictly enforce lockdown and to take legal action against violators. "Many people are still not taking the lockdown seriously. Please save yourself, save your family, follow the instructions seriously. I request the state governments to get the rules and laws followed," the PM tweeted on Monday morning.
In his address to the nation on Thursday, Modi had people of asked to follow the Janata Curfew for 14 hours. He had also urged people to express gratitude to the unsung heroes who are leading the fight against the coronavirus by giving a five-minute standing ovation at 5 pm on Sunday by clapping hands, beating plates or ringing bells.
(With Agency Inputs)