Mumbai’s local trains, known as the city’s “lifeline”, have been suspended along with outstation trains till March 31 as the number of Coronavirus cases in Maharashtra rose to 89, which includes 14 new cases in Mumbai and one in Pune .

So far, two people have died of COVID-19 in Mumbai. Today, a 68-year-old man from Philippines, who tested positive for Coronavirus infection and later recovered, died at a hospital in the city.

The local trains are considered as the lifeline of Mumbai as over 80 lakh people travel in them everyday. The Central and the Western Railway operate over 3,000 services on suburban routes daily.

“All the suburban services have been stopped from Sunday midnight till March 31,” a railway spokesperson said.

The Railway Board on Sunday afternoon decided to suspend suburban services along with all other passenger trains to prevent the spread of Coronavirus in the city and other parts of the country.

This is the first time in past several decades that suburban trains have been stopped.

Earlier in 1974, the suburban and long distance train services here were stopped for around 20 days due to trade union strike.

The suburban trains in Mumbai ran on Sunday at lesser frequency and only people working with emergency and essential services were allowed to travel.

The Mumbai suburban network spreads from Churchgate to Dahanu on the Western Railway route and from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) to Kasara and Khopoli on the Central Railway’s main line.

The Central Railway also runs services from CSMT to Mahim and Panvel on the Harbour line, from Thane to Vashi and Panvel on the Trans-Harbour line and also operates the Belapur-Seawood-Kharkopar line.

In a significant move to avoid close contact of people, the Indian Railways on Sunday announced the suspension of all passenger trains till March 31.

Minister Piyush Goyal in a tweeted informed about the cancellation of the trains and said, “Strengthening precautions against COVID-19, Railways has decided that no passenger train will run up to 31st March.”

Indian Railways in a statement said, “All passenger train services including Premium trains, Mail/Express trains, Passenger trains, Suburban trains, Kolkata Metro trains, Konkan Railways etc shall be cancelled till the 2400hrs of March 31, 2020.”