From Rajasthan to Delhi, states ramp up measures to battle Covid-19
The Rajasthan government has imposed a self-discipline fortnight, Mahrashtra has called for train passengers from six states to produce a negative RT-PCR test report and authorities in Delhi will meet on Monday to discuss continuation of restrictions among other things as Covid-19 cases have surged exponentially across these areas and the country. India has been reporting more than 200,000 cases of the coronavirus disease for the last three days and its Covid-19 test positivity rate doubled in less than two weeks. “The national weekly posivity rate has increased from 3.05% to 13.54% in the last one month. Chhattisgarh reported the highest weekly positivity rate among states at 30.38%,” the Union ministry of health and family welfare said in a statement on Sunday. The health ministry also pointed out India’s daily new cases continue to rise and 16 states are displaying an upward trajectory in such infections.
Experts have called for measures to break the chain of transmission of the virus as hospitals have been overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients and several states have complained of shortage of drugs and oxygen. The states have come up with their own restrictions--ranging from localised lockdowns to night and weekends curfews to control the raging Covid-19 cases.
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Late on Sunday, Rajasthan chief minister imposed an 'Anushashan Pakhwada' from from 5am on Monday till 5am on May 3. On Sunday, Rajasthan reported 10,514 Covid-19 cases--the highest rise so far and 42 related deaths, according to a health department bulletin. All workplaces, businesses and markets, including general activities, will be restricted during the period. However, essential services workers will be exempted from the restrictions. Government officials, people going to and coming from airports, bus stands, railway stations, Metro stations will be allowed for movement. Also, vegetable and fruit vendors will be allowed to sell till seven in the evening. Electronic and print media personnel will also be exempted upon production of identity cards.
Maharashtra, already under curfew, on Sunday declared six states, including Delhi and the National Capital Region, as the places of "sensitive origin" in a bid to stop the "influx of other variants of coronavirus" from other locations. An order issued by Maharashtra chief secretary Sitaram Kunte has declared Kerala, Goa, Gujarat, Delhi and NCR region, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand as the places of "sensitive origin". Passengers travelling to Maharashtra from these six states will need a RT-PCR negative test within 48 hours of their train travel. "These places will be considered the places of sensitive origin from the date of this order till the time it is retracted or till Covid-19 stays notified as a disaster," Kunte said in the order.
A new standard operating procedure (SOP) has also been put in place for travel in long-distance trains from these states to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease. The order also said that no unreserved ticket for Maharashtra should be issued on trains plying from these six states. "All passengers shall be compulsorily screened and only asymptomatic passengers shall be allowed to board the trains for Maharashtra. Social distancing should be ensured during boarding/deboarding and travel," Kunte said.
Maharashtra, the worst-hit state in terms of the number of cases and deaths, on Sunday reported the highest number of 68,631 fresh infections and 503 deaths, as per the state health department. Maharashtra caseload has now mounted to 38,39,338 and its death toll has gone up to 60,473.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, lieutenant governor Anil Baijal and chief secretary Vijay Dev will meet on Monday to discuss continuing restrictions, including the curfew, amid the unprecedented surge in Covid-19 cases. “The lieutenant governor, chief minister and chief secretary are scheduled to meet on Monday afternoon. The agenda involves review of Covid-19 cases, status of health care infrastructure and hospital management, and restrictions, including the possibility of imposing a curfew in the city like the one that was implemented over the weekend,” said a senior official, who did not wish to be identified, told HT.
Delhi registered its biggest-ever single-day spike of 25,462 coronavirus disease and 161 related deaths on Sunday.
(With agency inputs)