The iconic Gateway of India, Juhu beach and the Bandra-Worli sealink, which are otherwise always bustling with activity, wore a desolate look on Sunday as Mumbai joined the nationwide ‘Janta curfew’ proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to check the spread of coronavirus.
The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus and other suburban train stations, which remain chock-a-block during normal times with thousands of commuters jostling to get inside the overcrowded trains, presented an uncommon sight of being empty as people stayed indoors to support the curfew.
The western and eastern express highways and other arterial roads, which are generally packed with motorists, also looked deserted.
Key market places in Fort, Dadar, Andheri, Borivali, Ghatkopar, Bandra-Kurla Complex and other areas were also empty as the city intensified its fight against the deadly virus by staying away from public places.
Mumbai, known as the city that never sleeps, is not new to natural calamities and man-made disasters, but it never saw such an unprecedented lock-down, triggered by a disease which has acquired global proportions.
While the metropolis battled plague a century ago, witnessed riots in 1992-93, serial bomb blasts in March 1993, deluge in July 2005 and another ghastly terror attack in November 2008, it never shut down.
But, this time, in view of the coronavirus outbreak which has already killed over 13,000 people worldwide, including five in India, the prime minister proposed the day- long curfew between 7 am and 9 pm as part of the social distancing exercise to check the spread of the virus.
The state government authorities on Saturday informed people that only those engaged in essential services would be allowed to travel in local trains, that too after checking their identity papers.