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Public transport suspended in Jammu to check coronavirus

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Jammu: Heading towards a virtual lockdown to check the spread of novel coronavirus, authorities in Jammu on Friday ordered suspension of all modes of public transport, including buses and mini-buses with immediate effect till further orders.

However, three wheelers and taxi operators were allowed to continue their operations with a rider not to carry more than three persons.

Issuing an order under the National Disaster Management Act, District Magistrate Jammu Sushma Chauhan said all modes of mass public transport would cease to ply with immediate effect till further orders, except for State Road Transport Corporation (SRTC) buses.

The SRTC buses would only ply on designated routes for the convenience of government employees (on production of Identity cards) and travellers in emergency, she said.

However, she said auto-rickshaws or taxis are permitted to operate and ply with not more than three persons on board.

“Any violation of the directions will lead to prosecution under section 51 of the DM Act,” Chauhan said.

Various districts of Jammu region have already suspended public transport, while shops and business establishments except those dealing with essential commodities like groceries and medicines were closed on Thursday.

The main markets in Jammu wore a deserted look on Friday with people preferring to stay at home following the directive of “social distancing”.

The Friday prayers also passed off without any major congregation in the city, while all main temples, including the famous Raghunath Mandir, remaining shut for the visitors.

The pilgrimage to the revered shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi in Reasi district was suspended along with interstate bus services.

There are four cases of coronavirus in Jammu and Kashmir, where authorities imposed prohibitory orders banning assembly of five or more persons besides shutting down educational institutions, hotels and restaurants, cinema halls, shopping malls, recreational clubs, parks and gardens till March 31 to discourage any social gathering in view of the coronavirus threat.

The interstate bus services to and fro Jammu and Kashmir were also suspended.

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