India starts 14-hour curfew to curb coronavirus spread

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Members of Welfare Society wearing protective gear spray disinfectant on a street amid concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, in Amritsar on March 21, 2020. (AFP)
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Passengers wearing facemasks amid concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, arrive at the international airport on the outskirts of Amritsar on March 21, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 22 March 2020

India starts 14-hour curfew to curb coronavirus spread

  • Several Indian states announced measures to curb the spread of coronavirus

MUMBAI: India launched a 14-hour long curfew on Sunday to limit the fast-spreading coronavirus epidemic in the country, where 315 people have so far been found to have contracted the disease.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an address to the nation last week urged citizens to stay indoors from 0130 GMT to 1530 GMT — a move that he said would be a crucial test for a country to assess its abilities to fight the pandemic.
“Let us all be a part of this curfew, which will add tremendous strength to the fight against the COVID-19 menace,” Modi tweeted minutes before the curfew commenced. “The steps we take now will help in the times to come,” he said in the tweet.
Health experts said India’s cases have been growing at a rate seen during the early stages of the outbreak in other countries, which subsequently reported exponential increases in infections.
Several Indian states announced measures to curb the spread of coronavirus. Four cities in Modi’s home state of Gujarat have declared a complete shutdown until March 25.
Its neighboring desert state Rajasthan ordered a shutdown until March 31, while eastern and central states suspended inter-state bus operations to prevent an exodus of daily wage earners from urban centers to villages.
State leaders urged citizens not to rush to villages, avoid crowding trains and buses to prevent the virus spread. Tensions have mounted, however, with angry laborers protesting at some bus stations against sudden closures of basic transport services.
Private events, such as weddings, and local elections were canceled. The federal government was accelerating the production of masks and allowed deodorant manufacturers to produce sanitisers.
Modi has requested citizens to stand at balconies and near windows on Sunday evening to clap, ring bells to admire the emergency personnel and sanitation workers who are at the frontline in the fight against coronavirus. 


Malaysia reports 38 new coronavirus cases, one new death

Updated 25 min 26 sec ago

Malaysia reports 38 new coronavirus cases, one new death

  • The health ministry reported one new death, raising total fatalities to 117

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian health officials reported 38 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, taking the cumulative total to 8,304.
The health ministry also reported one new death, raising total fatalities to 117.