Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Photo Credit: PTI)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that the 14-hour ''Janta Curfew'' is the beginning of a long battle against coronavirus outbreak and the countrymen have proved that together they can defeat any challenge. "Today''s Janta Curfew may end at 9.00 pm, but this does not mean we start celebrating," he tweeted. He said the self-imposed curfew should "not be considered as a success" as it is the "beginning of a long battle". "Janta Curfew is beginning of a long battle. Today countrymen have told that we are capable, and once we decide we can take on any challenge together," he said.
Earlier, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal announced that the national capital will be locked down from 6 am on March 23, saying "extraordinary measures" are required to contain the spread of the new coronavirus after six locally transmitted cases surfaced in the national capital. The lockdown will continue till midnight on March 31, Kejriwal said at a joint press conference with Lt Governor Anil Baijal.
No public transport will operate and Delhi's borders will remain sealed during the lockdown, but the essential services related to health, food, water and power supply will continue, Kejriwal said but added that 25 percent of the DTC buses will run to transport people associated with essential services. He informed that all domestic and international flights were being suspended in Delhi. Dairies, milk plants, grocery shops, chemists and petrol pumps will remain open, he said.
"Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. Delhi will be under lockdown from tomorrow 6 am until March 31. Certain exceptions have been made to ensure essential items are available for purchase and basic services continue to operate," he tweeted after the press conference.
At the press conference, Kejriwal said of the total 27 cases reported in Delhi, six were locally transmitted from one person to another while 21 persons contracted it abroad. "We know people will face difficulties, but lockdown is necessary to contain the spread of coronavirus," he said.
Gathering of more than five people will not be allowed and strict action will be taken if anybody violates the lockdown. "People coming out of their homes for essential things will not be asked anything and they will be trusted for which they would be coming out."
The private sector will have to pay salaries to their employees during the lockdown. The companies will not deduct salaries, the CM assured. Delhi's boarders will remain sealed during the lockdown.
(With PTI inputs)