India observes JANATA CURFEW resolving to combat it: all passengers, metro trains cancelled till March 31: freight trains remain operational: educational institutions, cinemas closed till March 31

ALL passenger train services on the Indian Railways including mail, express, premium and metro trains will remain cancelled till 2400 hours on March 31. Suburban train service will also remain cancelled during the period. However, bare minimum services will be maintained by Kolkata Metro and suburban trains till 2400 hours on March 22, said Union Minister for Railways Piyush Goyal in a statement. There will be no cancellation charges, and freight trains will be operational, he added. States have cancelled inter-state bus services and gathering of more than five persons at any place as part of the measures to contain the spread of Coronavirus. AHEAD of the nationwide JANATA CURFEW on Sunday, March 22 to contain the spread of dreaded COVID-19, the government amended the rules related to the MPLAD Fund allowing it be used for the needy for the payment for COVID-19 tests. The government has allowed private laboratories to conduct COVID-19 tests capping the cost at 4,500 INR for one person. Besides, the government clinic will continue to provide free testing. Under the Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme formulated by Government of India on 23 December 1993, MPs are allowed to recommend developmental work in their constituencies for creating durable community assets based on locally felt needs.  Each MP is allocated INR 5 crore per year since 2011-12. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has meanwhile also stressed the need for adequate availability of medicines and kits while interacting with the representatives of the pharma sector. As experts are brainstorming over the means to contain spread of novel Coronavirus originating from Wuhan in China, The Indian Council of Medical Research has  revised its strategy to fight the spread of the disease decreeing that all hospitalised patients with severe acute respiratory illness, shortness of breath and having fever and cough will be henceforth tested for COVID-19 infection. The new ICMR guidelines also said asymptomatic direct and high-risk contacts of a confirmed case should be tested once between day 5 and day 14 of coming in his/her contact. The apex body for biomedical research justifies its revised stance saying it is felt necessary giving number of coronavirus cases in the country going up.  It will go a long way in containing the spread of infection more effectively and to provide reliable diagnosis to all individuals meeting the inclusion criteria of COVID-19 testing, it said in a statement. (edited by @chakravartypk)

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