This aerial picture taken on March 22, 2020, shows a deserted road during a one-day nationwide Janata (civil) curfew imposed as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus in Mumbai. (Photo by PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP via Getty Images)

In an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus, India has decided to suspend all inter-state buses, passenger trains and metro services across the country till March 31. However, goods trains are exempted.

Besides, 80 districts, where COVID-19 cases were reported, have been locked down. These were in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

The decisions were taken at a high-level meeting of chief secretaries of all states and the cabinet secretary and the principal secretary to the prime minister, officials said on Sunday.

The state governments will issue orders allowing only essential services to operate in these districts.

There will also be restrictions on the movement of non-essential passenger transport, including interstate transport buses, till March.

The state governments may expand the list depending on their assessment of the situation.

The railways announced suspension of all its 13,523 passenger trains from March 22 midnight to March 31 midnight.

The railways reported three incidents where people asked to remain in quarantine were found travelling on trains.

The trains that had already commenced their journey prior to 4 am on March 22 will run up to their respective destinations, the railways said.

The total number of novel coronavirus cases in India rose to 471, while the death toll climbed to eight on Monday (23).