Janta Curfew: Here's how TV news covered it in real time

It was a lot of sound and fury, per usual.

WrittenBy:NL Team
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Coronavirus is wreaking havoc across the world, infecting at least 3,11,000 people so far, killing over 13,000. India has reported 370 cases so far, with six casualties. While states such as Kerala and Delhi have announced specific measures to tackle the urgent health crisis and help their people tide over the economic losses, nationally, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for a “janta curfew” – people’s curfew – today from 7 am to 9 pm as a measure to contain the spread of the infection.

As such, people in major cities at least are staying indoors. Modi has also asked the citizens to stand on their balconies or at their widows at 5 pm and clap for five minutes to show appreciation for essential services personnel such as healthcare and sanitation workers, airline and rail staff, police, deliverymen.

Also read: On Janata Curfew day, journalists play ‘Twitter Antakshari’ with Smriti Irani

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Although social distancing and isolation are the most effective ways of keeping the virus from spreading, it is not clear how feasible a temporary curfew can be in a country where a vast section of the population lives in slums and cramped houses, and where a large number of people cannot afford to skip even a day of work.

This hasn’t prevented social media being inundated with junk science about the benefits of the janta curfew and the cheering.

Meanwhile, India has locked down the 75 districts which have reported coronavirus infections. The Prime Minister’s Office has advised the state governments concerned to issue appropriate orders to allow only essential services to operate in these districts, according to the Indian Express.

The government has also shut down all passenger train services, including suburban and metro rail services, until March 31. Goods trains, however, will continue to run to ensure the supply chain of essential products is not disrupted.

Follow live updates on the janta curfew and how the media is covering it:


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6:24 pm

6:12 pm

NDTV is showing a "sponsored feature" with Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh. Prannoy Roy is interviewing the CM on the state's preparedness with regard to coronavirus, on terrorism, and so on.

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6:09 pm

Meanwhile, News18 India is informing viewers about the balcony gratitute of Bachchan parivar in Mumbai.

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6:05 pm

India Today says it has received with 1 lakh+ user-generated videos of people clapping and observing the 5 pm show of gratitude.

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5:49 pm

On Times Now, anchor Padmaja Joshi asks everyone to clap for five mins. Actor Isha Koppikar is one of the guests on board. She last made news for calling Ram Gopal Verma a genius. She says: "I was with a dhol, with plates and spoons...I was very overwhelmed...it feels like a movie. Whether you call it the apocalypse. It's a warlike feeling."

5:40 pm

Zee News claims these "emotional" five minutes will be remembered generations after. Soon enough they get a doctor who says coronavirus is going to "runs away" after hearing these loud noises.

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5:19 pm

ABP News anchor is at Shaheen Bagh. There are about five women protestors at the spot who say that they are with the PM in the fight against coronavirus. They clapped at 5 pm and also chanted anti-NRC slogans.

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5:13 pm

Ramdev ringing a bell while singing "desh hai pukarta, pukarti maa bharati" in a morose tone on News 18 India. The host, meanwhile, has repeated over 3 times in the past 5 minutes how they have 1200 reporters and 20 channels.

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5:11 pm

On ABP News, two young girls are singing a song to make coronavirus go away. The channel is showing images from across the country of people in housing colonies baking plates and plots. You can hear chants of "Bharat Mata Ki Jai'. Meanwhile, the channel's reporter is chastising people who have come out on the roads. "Aap log yeh galat kar rahe hain (you're doing the wrong thing)," he says.

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5 pm

On Aaj Tak, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath can be seen ringing a bell in Gorakhpur.

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4.50 pm

On Republic TV, Arnab Goswami has writer Prasoon Joshi and actor Venkatesh Daggubati in the studio. Arnab asks Venkatesh how he will celebrate at 5 pm. Republic is showing pictures of people who have already begun clapping. Prasoon, meanwhile, says something as big as this requires participation. Arnab says this is going to be the single-biggest loudest applause in the history of our country as he shows images of a housing society in Mumbai. "Viewers, this is unbelievable!"

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