Coronavirus: Indian migrant workers defying COVID-19 curfew, crowd trains

Indian migrant workers attempting to reach their home villages crowded a railway station in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh on Sunday, defying a 14-hour “people’s curfew” that Prime Minister Narendra Modi called to stem a surge in coronavirus cases in the world’s second-most populous country.

Modi asked India’s 1.3 billion people to stay at home on Sunday, but also to collectively cheer front-line health care workers at 5 p.m.

Shortly before 5, the cacophony in New Delhi, the capital, began as people on balconies and rooftops clapped, rang bells, banged pots and pans, played music recordings and exploded fireworks, sending crows and parakeets streaming from treetops, and stray dogs and cows into the deserted streets.

Late Sunday, the government of Delhi, a federal territory, issued weeklong stay-at-home orders, cancelling public transport services, closing shops, offices, factories and houses of worship, and allowing people to leave their homes only for basic necessities. Services such as police and health care were exempted from the rule.

Delhi joined the neighbouring state of Haryana, home to the multinational corporate hub of Gurugram, as well as the states of Rajasthan, Bihar, Uttarakhand, Telangana and the federal territory of Jammu and Kashmir with near-total bans on public movement.

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