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Clapping, ringing bells, beating plates: Here’s how India thanked COVID-19 ‘warriors’

Indians appeared in balconies following an appeal by the Prime Minister to show gratitude to frontline health care workers battling coronavirus. Source: Twittre/Akshar pathak

People of India observed a nationwide ‘Janata curfew’ (people’s curfew) called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a mass attempt to flatten the curve of coronavirus infections, as the number of cases rises to 396 in the country.

As the 14-hour ‘self-imposed’ curfew got underway at 7 am on Sunday, millions of Indians stayed locked inside their houses in a mass attempt to break the chain of rapidly spreading infections.


 Highlights:

  • India observes 'Janata Curfew' (Self-imposed social quarantine) to stem the spread of coronavirus
  • The 14-day curfew call received an "overwhelming" response from the people
  • People took to balconies to thank and cheer health care workers

Unprecedented scenes were witnessed as all markets, establishments and non-essential businesses remained shut and the usually bustling streets wore a deserted look throughout the day.

As the curfew began, there were announcements of longer-term measures including the suspension of the country’s railways, which in normal circumstances ferries over 23 million passengers daily.

And at least 21 states across the country imposed lockdowns to clamp the infections.

The social curfew campaign reached a crescendo at 5 pm when people appeared on their balconies following an appeal by the Prime Minister to show their gratitude to the frontline health care workers battling to contain the outbreak.

From children to the elderly, Indians descended to their balconies, front lawns and terraces with their choice of instruments, including utensils, bells and conch shells to boost the morale of doctors, paramedics, nurses, police and emergency workers pressed into service.

Some people also sang patriotic and religious hymns in a show of appreciation and to cheer each other. Police sirens were also heard at India Gate and in other parts of the national capital.

Also, among those following the self-quarantine call were politicians, Bollywood celebrities and entrepreneurs, some of whom shared appeals and special messages to encourage the people into staying indoors.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi later took to Twitter to thank the people of the country, hailing it as the “beginning of victory in a long battle against coronavirus."

While the call for people’s curfew received an “overwhelming” response with millions following the protocol, however, there were some who did not get the memo right.

In some parts of the country, a large number of people took to streets to celebrate the "success" of Prime Minister's appeal, defeating the purpose of the curfew.

Some also took to social media to express their disagreement with the government’s call, saying a one-day curfew was not enough.

As of the time of publication, only people who have recently travelled from overseas or have been in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case and experienced symptoms within 14 days are advised to be tested.

If you believe you may have contracted the virus, call your doctor, don’t visit, or contact the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. 

If you are struggling to breathe or experiencing a medical emergency, call 000.

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