Mumbai on partial lockdown as India tries to contain virus spread

Few people are seen at the otherwise crowded Girgaum Chowpatty public beach amid the outbreak in Mumbai. (AP pic)

NEW DELHI: Authorities ordered all non-essential businesses in Mumbai and across the broader state to shut from midnight through the end of March to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Banks will continue to operate, government offices will function with a quarter of their staff, buses and trains will run and food and medicines will be available, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray told citizens in a public address Friday. Stock exchanges and certain financial intermediaries will be open.

“Only essential services like milk and grocery shops and banks will remain open, and offices that do not allow work from home will have to shut down completely,” Thackeray said. “Shutting down local trains, bus services will be our final resort.”

India on Friday reported 195 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, about double from five days ago.

India has shut key cities to stop the outbreak from entering the stage of community transmission. Most of the infections detected so far in India have been in urban centres.

Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal ordered all malls, except grocery and pharmacy shops, to shut.