Rajdhani Express
Rajdhani Express

New Delhi: A couple was deboarded from a Delhi-bound Rajdhani train on Saturday after co-passengers noticed a home quarantine seal on the husband's hand, the Railways said, urging people to avoid non-essential travel for the safety of fellow citizens amid a spurt in coronavirus cases.

The Railways reported two other recent incidents when people asked to remain in quarantine were found travelling on trains. Of the total people detected in the two instances, 12 tested COVID-19 positive.

The national transporter has urged people to avoid or postpone all non-essential travel to avoid crowding on trains and encourage social distancing. It has also relaxed refund rules for people who booked tickets to travel between March 21 and April 15.

"Railways has found some cases of coronavirus infected passengers in trains which makes train travel risky. Avoid train travel as you may also get infected if your co-passenger has coronavirus. Postpone all journeys and keep yourself and your loved ones safe. #NoRailTravel," it tweeted.

In the latest case, a Delhi-based couple boarded the Bangalore City-New Delhi Rajdhani at Secunderabad Saturday morning. When the train reached Kazipet in Telangana at 9:45 am a co-passenger noticed the quarantine mark - authorities are putting on suspected coronavirus cases - on the husband's hand. The woman too had the home quarantine seal.

Their co-passengers then informed the TTE on board the train, the Railways said.

The train was briefly detained and the couple was admitted to a hospital.

The coach was completely sanitised in Kazipet and was locked, officials said. The air conditioning was also switched off.

The train left for its destination at 11.30 am.

Urging people to maintain social distancing, the Railways said four passengers who travelled in B1 coach of 11055 Godan Express from Mumbai to Jabalpur on March 16 tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday.

"They came to India from Dubai last week. All concerned have been alerted to take necessary action," it said.

In another case, eight passengers who travelled on AP Sampark Kranti Express from Delhi to Ramagundam on March 13 tested positive for the virus on Friday.

The Health Ministry said Saturday morning the number coronavirus cases in India has risen to 258. However, according to ICMR 271 individuals have been confirmed positive among the suspected cases and contacts of known positive cases.

The Railways has said no passenger train will originate from any railway station in the country from midnight Saturday to 10 pm on Sunday in view of the "Janta curfew" announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It has cancelled 245 trains to restrict unnecessary travel until Friday.

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