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Citing the serious outbreak of deadly Coronavirus pandemic, the Central Government has today, ordered all the states to enforce a strict lockdown and directed to take legal action against violators of the lockdown orders.

“States have been asked to strictly enforce the lockdown in the areas where it has been announced. Legal action will be taken against violators,” the Press Information Bureau tweeted, on 23 March. The decision was taken as a measure to curb the rise of Covid-19 infected people, which has reportedly crossed 400 in the country, as on Monday, according to the Indian Council of Medical Research. Of those, seven people have succumbed to the virus till now.

Agitated with the citizens not taking the lockdown seriously, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to twitter stating “Many people are still not taking the lockdown seriously. Please save yourself, save your family, follow the directives seriously. I request the state governments to ensure that the rules and laws are followed.”

Legal action against lockdown violators

Meanwhile, around 82 districts across the country including Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Punjab, Haryana, and Bengaluru are under complete lockdown, following the outbreak of Covid-19. All shops, offices, commercial establishments like malls, cinemas have been shut down, except for those supplying essentials like milk, food, and medicines.

Railways, metros and inter-state buses have been stopped and public transport has also been banned in the states including Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Bengal, and Haryana.

On the other hand, several states have imposed Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which bans gatherings of more than four people. The violators could face punishment under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code, which includes imprisonment, for up to one month or a fine of Rs 200, or both. However, in circumstances wherein such violation endangers human lives or safety, the punishment may extend to six months imprisonment or fine of up to Rs 1,000. Few states have already taken action against those who have violated home quarantine after returning from abroad.

The National Capital’s borders will remain sealed during the lockdown, however, essential services including medicines, food, water, and power supply will continue. Further, 25 percent of the DTC buses will run to transport people associated with essential services.

Earlier, on 12 March, India has invoked Section 2 of Epidemic Diseases Act to deal with coronavirus. On 10 March, as per the travel advisory issued by the government of India in response to coronavirus outbreak, all visas, and e-visas issued to nationals of France, Germany, and Spain who have not entered India stand suspended with immediate effect. It has also suspended most visas for foreigners until 15 April.

Globally, coronavirus has infected around 341,526 people and over 14,748 have died of the pandemic disease.

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