India reported three more coronavirus deaths on Sunday, including the first casualty from Bihar, taking the toll to seven and the number of COVID-19 cases rose to 360, officials said, as authorities suspended all train passenger and inter-state bus services till March 31 in unprecedented steps to contain the spread of the infection.
Though the AIIMS-Patna superintendent said the 38-year-old man with a kidney ailment and recent travel history to Qatar died of the virus, the Union Health Ministry was yet to confirm.
A 63-year-old patient died in Mumbai due to the virus while the third death of a 67-year-old patient was reported from Surat in Gujarat.
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), "A total of 396 individuals have been confirmed positive among suspected cases and contacts of known positive cases".
As many as 18,127 samples from 17,237 individuals have been tested for COVID-19 so far, the ICMR said.
According to the Health Ministry, the total number of active COVID-19 cases are 329 now and 24 people have been cured/discharged/migrated, while seven have died, taking total number of cases to 360, including 41 foreign nationals.
As millions of people stayed indoors following an appeal by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to observe a 'Janta Curfew' on Sunday, the Centre and state governments decided to announce a lockdown in 80 districts where coronavirus cases have been reported.
Only essential services will be allowed in the districts, a Union Ministry of Home Affairs official said.
The stricter measures to control the virus spread came as the health ministry said at least 341 people have been infected by COVID-19 across the country, the highest 74 reported from Maharashtra.
The Railways announced it was suspending all passenger services from March 22 midnight until March 31 and said only goods trains will run during the period. The suspensions include all suburban train services.
Trains that commenced their journey prior to 4 am on March 22 will complete their journeys, it said, adding that passengers can claim a full refund for trains cancelled during this period till June 21.
Also, the government suspended all inter-state bus services until March 31.
The extraordinary decisions were taken a day after the Railways reported three incidents (12 positive cases) of people asked to remain in quarantine travelling on trains and amid an exodus of people from urban areas to their home states, raising fears of the virus spreading to the countryside.
A Union Home Ministry official said the Centre and state governments decided to completely lockdown 75 districts in states that include UP, Punjab, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Maharashtra.
Delhi Police said prohibitory orders have been imposed in Delhi till March 31, adding that protests and other gatherings of people have been banned. The Delhi government urged residents to remain indoors even after the 'Janta Curfew' ends.
The West Bengal government said in a notification that Kolkata and several other areas of the state will be under lockdown from Monday 5 pm till Mar 27.
In Assam, the second test of a four-and-a-half-year-old girl, who had initially tested positive for coronavirus, has turned out to be negative, state Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Sunday.
'The 4-year-old child who was suspected of #covid19 and tested in Jorhat Medical College and RMRC, Dibrugarh has been found NEGATIVE. There is no Covid19 positive case in Assam so far,' Sarma tweeted, attaching a copy of the report.
The total number of coronavirus positive patients in Maharashtra rose to 74 with 10 more positive cases reported in the last 24 hours, officials said on Sunday.
Of the 10 new cases, six are in Mumbai and four in Pune, they said.
Maharashtra has reported the highest number of COVID-19 cases, including three foreigners, followed by Kerala at 52 including seven foreign nationals.
Delhi has reported 27 positive cases, which include one foreigner, while Uttar Pradesh has recorded 25 cases, including one foreigner.
Telangana has reported 22 cases with a 24-year old man testing positive for coronavirus on Sunday. The 22 cases in Telangana include 11 foreigners.
Four new cases were found in Gujarat on Sunday, taking the total number of those infected with it to 18 in the state, officials said.
Of the four new coronavirus cases, two each were reported from Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar, they said.
"Total number of cases of coronavirus has risen to 18 in Gujarat," Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel told reporters.
Earlier, 14 coronavirus cases were reported in the state till Saturday, including that of a woman from Kutch district who returned from Mecca recently.
Two new cases were reported in Ahmedabad on Sunday, taking the total number of cases in the district to seven.
Besides, with two new cases in Gandhinagar, the total number of cases in the state capital went up to three.
Three cases each have so far been reported from Vadodara and Surat while one case each has been found in Rajkot and Kutch, officials said.
Rajasthan has reported 24 cases, including two foreigners.
In Haryana, there are 18 cases, which include 14 foreigners. A 40-year-old woman in Panchkula tested positive on Sunday.
The authorities have launched a health check in the slum where she lived with her family, officials said.
The slum in Panchkula, with a population of around 9,000, has been cordoned off and residents have been asked to quarantine themselves in their homes, they said.
Karnataka has 20 coronavirus patients. Punjab and Ladakh have 13 cases each. Gujarat has 14 cases while Tamil Nadu has 6 cases which includes 2 foreigners.
Chandigarh has five cases.
Madhya Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and West Bengal reported four cases each.Andhra Pradesh and Uttarakhand have reported three cases each. Odisha and Himachal Pradesh reported 2 cases each.
Puducherry and Chhattisgarh have reported one case each.