India shuts down capital

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As Covid-19 cases in India soared to 359 over the weekend, Indian cities have begun shutting down.

And that includes the capital, Delhi – a city of more than 18 million people, spread across nearly 1,500 sq km (572 sq miles). It has reported 29 active cases so far.

All shops, schools, offices and factories have been closed in Delhi until 31 March; public transport, such as buses, metro stations, taxis and auto-rickshaws have all stopped running; and the city has also sealed its borders with neighbouring states.

Only “essential services”, which includes emergency services, groceries, pharmacies, water and power supply, and the media, are allowed to function – and only their employees can use buses or drive their own vehicles.

The city has also invoked a colonial-era law that prohibits a gathering of more than four people. “Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures,” Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted on Sunday evening.

“I am pretty confident that you will join this fight against COVID-19 and support the lockdown to protect your families,” he wrote in another tweet, addressing the people of Delhi.

The announcement came towards the end of a 14-hour curfew observed across much of India on Sunday. Several Indian cities, and even entire states, have gone into lockdown.

By Krutika Pathi
Source: BBC News, Delhi

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