Most of country under lockdown

India reported two COVID-19 deaths on Monday, taking the toll to nine. The number of cases climbed to 468 after 95 people tested positive, the highest jump in one day. Maharashtra and Punjab were put under statewide curfews and most of the other states under lockdown.

The Union health ministry said West Bengal and Himachal Pradesh reported a casualty each on Monday. Seven deaths were earlier reported from Gujarat, Bihar and Maharashtra, Karnataka, Delhi, and Punjab.

There are currently 424 active cases. There were 329 on Sunday evening.

The extreme lockdown measures by the central and state governments were taken in light of the continued upward trajectory of the virus, amid warning of legal action against those violating the restrictions imposed during the lockdown.

Punjab 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.

Delhi, Jharkhand, and Nagaland declared a statewide 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 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 interstate bus services till March 31.

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 tweeted.

Dubbing COVID-19 as a “lifetime challenge”, he said while speaking to representatives of television news channels through a video-conference that it needed to be tackled through new and innovative solutions.

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, the Centre’s communication wing.

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