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Indians breathe easier as lockdowns to halt coronavirus clear smog

(Reuters, 23 Mar 2020) Measures to combat the spread of coronavirus in India's megacities keep cars off the road and close factories, improving air quality.

Indians breathed easier on Monday as lockdowns ordered to combat the spread of the coronavirus in India's megacities kept cars off the road and closed factories, improving air quality and letting people see blue skies instead of heavy grey smog.

Last year, India accounted for around half of the world's 50 most polluted cities, according to Swiss firm IQAir, with emissions caused partly by industry, vehicle exhaust and coal-fired plants.

Now, however, New Delhi and at least 75 Indian districts are under lockdown to stop the virus, which has infected at least 341 people in India and killed seven.

Many Indians also heeded Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call to observe voluntary confinement on Sunday, leaving roads that are usually crammed with cars, rickshaws, motor-bikes and buses eerily empty.

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Reuters, 23 Mar 2020: Indians breathe easier as lockdowns to halt coronavirus clear smog