BHOPAL: Within 48 hours after the state found itself on the COVID-19 map with four positive cases, most people in Madhya Pradesh shut themselves indoors in response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call for a 'Janata Curfew' on Sunday.
Lockdown was announced for 10 districts Bhopal, Jabalpur, Seoni, Narsinghpur, Chhindwara, Balaghat, Seoni, Betul, Rewa and Gwalior for one to three days, according to caretaker health minister Tarun Bhanot. Narsinghpur has been ordered shut for 14 days.
Jabalpur which witnessed the first positive cases on Friday evening will remain shut till March 24. Three persons from a family arriving from Dubai and one from Germany tested positive and were moved to the medical college hospital in Jabalpur.
"Their condition is stable," said Bhanot who happens to be from Jabalpur. The town was stunned to silence on Sunday. The healthcare services all over the state are under intensive monitoring, Bhanot said.
Three of these four persons, residents of a densely populated area in Jabalpur, apparently contacted several people since their return from abroad.
One of them has been booked for not informing the authorities of his return from abroad on March 16, official sources said. "As many as 21 people who came in contact with him had been quarantined," an official said.
In most other cities including capital Bhopal, Sunday began on an unusually quiet note with most people skipping morning walks and jogging schedules and roads were deserted. Passenger train services through the state have been cancelled till March 31.
Gardens, stadia and other public grounds, that usually witness crowds on Sundays, were empty. Roadside shops and eateries also remained closed across the state.
To check the spread of coronavirus, authorities in several districts of the state have taken various measures, like shutting schools, cinema halls and museums, keeping passenger buses off the roads and closing down restaurants and markets.
'Janata curfew' on Sunday between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. was part of social distancing to check the spread of the deadly virus. Meanwhile, officials have sealed MP borders with Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashta.
With the new provisions of lockdown in many other districts the situation will be monitored before the next announcement.