The bustling cities of Uttar Pradesh, the country's most populous state, wore a deserted look on Sunday as residents stayed indoors in response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call for a nationwide 'Janata Curfew' to check the spiralling numbers of coronavirus cases.
The streets were eerily quiet, with the silence interrupted every few hours by 'azaan' or prayer call from mosques.
Shops in busy marketplaces of Hazratganj, Aminabad, Gomtinagar, Aliganj and Kaiserbagh areas were shut, while police vehicles patrolled the streets.
Cinema halls, multiplexes, cafes, restaurants and bars also remained closed.
Similar scenes were witnessed in Allahabad, Faizabad, Kanpur, Gorakhpur, Raebareli, Badaun, Bareilly, Jhansi and other parts of the state.
Amid surging coronavirus cases in the country over the past few weeks, fewer people have been stepping out of their homes. This has severely affected daily wagers like rickshaw pullers.
Narrating his hardship, Ganesh, a rickshaw puller in Lucknow, said "I have been pulling rickshaw in Lucknow for the past five-six years. In the past few days, my earnings have come down. After paying the daily rent of Rs 40, I am left with Rs 50-100, which I use to buy food. On a normal day, I earn around Rs 250."
In a televised address to the nation on Thursday, Modi had called for the 'Janata Curfew' from 7 am to 9 pm on March 22, saying no citizen, barring those in essential services, should get out of their houses. He had asserted that it will be a litmus test to show India's readiness to take on the coronavirus challenge.
Novel coronavirus cases in the country climbed to 341 on Sunday. Uttar Pradesh has reported 25 coronavirus cases so far, according to the Union Health Ministry.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)