Nationwide rail shutdown from midnight

NEW DELHI, Mar 21 (Agencies): No passenger train will originate from any railway station in the country from midnight on Saturday to 10pm on Sunday in view of the ‘Janata curfew’ announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, according to a railway order issued on Friday.
It stated that mail and express trains will also stop services from 4am to 10pm on Sunday while all suburban train services will be reduced to a bare minimum as well.
“All passenger trains originating between midnight of March 21/March 22 to 22:00 hours of March 22 (approximately 2,400 services) shall not be run. However, the passenger train services already on run at 0700 hours on the day will be allowed to run to the destinations. Divisions should keep a watch and trains, which are empty, could be short terminated, if required,” the Railway order said.
It also said the decision has been taken in view of the coronavirus outbreak and the fact that the demand will be less due to ‘Janata curfew’.
Suburban services in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Secunderabad shall be reduced to a bare minimum level only to cater to essential travel.
Punjab public transport shutdown begins
A shutdown of bus and autorickshaw services in Punjab began early on Saturday. The shutdown, intended to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, will remain in effect till March 31.
The Punjab government has allowed state-owned buses to ply on 48 important routes in the state, but all private bus services are suspended. Interstate buses are banned from entering the state.
24-hour shutdown in Meghalaya
Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma announced a 24-hour statewide shutdown from Saturday midnight and said it will be observed as ‘coronavirus awareness day’.
Speaking to reporters after chairing a cabinet meeting on Friday, Sangma said all public transport, commercial establishments and markets will remain shut to create awareness about the pandemic among the people of the state. It is not to be taken as a “lockdown”, he urged.
“We are calling it coronavirus awareness day and we will ensure we educate our locality and family members about various precautions such as washing hands and social distancing,” Sangma said.
Finance ministry meeting
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced her ministry will hold an internal meeting on Saturday to firm up an action plan to deal with the effects of the novel coronavirus.
She said an economic package for the coronavirus-hit sectors will be announced “as soon as possible”.
SpiceJet flight suspensions
SpiceJet will begin suspending most of its international flight services from Saturday till the end of next month due to the “unprecedented situation” arising over the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“In view of the unprecedented situation arising due to COVID-19, SpiceJet is forced to temporarily suspend majority of its international operations from 21st March till 30th April, 2020,” a SpiceJet spokesperson stated on Thursday. “We will resume the suspended flights as soon as the situation normalises.”
The spokesperson, however, said the airline’s Kolkata-Dhaka flight would continue to operate as per schedule. “Our Chennai-Colombo flight will restart from the 25th March, 2020, while our Delhi-Dubai and Mumbai-Dubai flights will resume from 16th April, 2020,” the official added.
Saudi transport suspension
Saudi Arabia will halt operations of all domestic flights, buses, taxis and trains for 14 days from Saturday as a precautionary measure against the novel coronavirus. Saudi Arabia has so far confirmed 274 infections and no deaths.

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