More states opt for lockdown as India’s Covid-19 situation worsens
As the cases and deaths due to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) have been increasing in India, several states and Union territories are introducing lockdown or lockdown-like restrictions to stem the spread of the disease. India on Saturday saw the highest-single day spike in Covid-19 deaths at 4,187 while the new cases remained above the 400,000-mark for a third straight day at 401,078.
It has been observed that lockdowns and other strict restrictions have been successful in arresting the spread of Covid-19. Maharashtra, which has been the worst-affected state from the pandemic, has been seeing a decline in its daily cases. Hindustan Times earlier reported that the lockdown-like restrictions which have been extended in Maharashtra till May 15, have been successful in bringing Covid-19 under control. The national capital Delhi, which is observing lockdown till May 10, has also seen a drop in its positivity rate and daily cases.
This week, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Rajasthan and Bihar joined the list of states which have imposed lockdowns amid a surge in their daily cases. Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Rajasthan and Bihar are observing complete lockdown while Karnataka has been placed under lockdown-like restrictions for 14 days.
Tamil Nadu will be observing a complete lockdown for two weeks from May 10 to May 24 amid the spike in daily cases deaths. On Friday, the state had seen a record jump in daily Covid-19 deaths of 197, while 26,465 more people tested positive for the disease.
The newly inducted chief minister MK Stalin said in a statement that the lockdown was being imposed due to unavoidable reasons and the decision was taken at a review meeting with district collectors on Friday.
As per the lockdown rules, employees of government and private offices have been asked to work from home. Only groceries, vegetable and meat shops will be open till 12 noon. Amma canteens are allowed to function. Transport services such as autos and cabs will only be allowed to people to funerals, exams, jobs interviews and marriages. Healthcare workers, caregivers and volunteers are allowed to move during the lockdown period after producing valid identity cards.
Ahead of the complete lockdown, all shops will remain open today and on Sunday from 6am to 9pm.
Chief minister BS Yediyurappa on Friday announced lockdown-like restrictions in Karnataka from May 10 to May 24 to check the spread of the coronavirus disease. The state had already been placed under a curfew from April 27 to May 12.
Yediyurappa said that under the lockdown-like restrictions, shops and commercial establishments, bars, hotels and pubs will remain closed. All educational institutions including coaching centres, parks, cinema halls, gymnasiums, community halls, clubs will also be closed. A complete ban has been announced on public gatherings including social, political, educational and religious.
Essential goods and services such as medicines, milk, fruits and vegetables will be available between 6am and 10am. No restrictions will be made on movement of medical equipment either. While buses and metro rail will not operate flights and trains are allowed to run as per schedule. Cabs and autos will ferry passengers only during an emergency.
On Friday, Karnataka’s caseload breached the 1.8 million mark with 592 deaths and 48,791 new cases. Friday’s deaths have been the highest in the state since the beginning of the pandemic.
Rajasthan has also imposed a complete lockdown for two weeks from May 10 to May 24 to control the spread of the coronavirus disease. Marriages in the state have been banned till May 31 as they have proven to be super-spreader events. Only court marriages and small marriages at home are allowed with not more than 11 people.
Apart from emergency vehicles, no other vehicle, be it private or public is allowed to move and all intrastate movement is banned. People coming from outside Rajasthan will have to submit a negative RT-PCR test report not older than 72 hours. In case there is no negative report, such people will have to be quarantined for 15 days.
Due to the rise of the infection in rural areas in the state, all MNREGA works have been suspended. Places of worship will be closed and people are requested to carry out religious activities at home.
Kerala will be observing a nine-day lockdown starting from today amid the massive rise in the state’s cases and deaths on a daily basis. “The entire State of Kerala will be under lockdown from 6am on 8 May to 16 May. This is in the background of a strong 2nd wave of #Covid19,” chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan tweeted on Thursday.
According to the guidelines, offices of the central and state government and their autonomous and subordinate offices along with public corporations will be closed. All commercial and private establishments will be closed.
Hospitals and all related medical establishments in the state including their autonomous and subordinate offices and public corporations in private and public sectors will be allowed to function, the guidelines added. Similarly, transportation of people in medical and other hospital services, nurses, paramedical staff will be allowed.
Exceptions have been given to those employed in emergency services such as defence, Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF), public utilities, disaster management, railways etc, the guidelines said. Ration shops, shops selling food, groceries, fruits and vegetables, dairy products, meat and fish are also exempted. Banks, insurance and financial services can operate from 10am to 1pm.
Bihar has been witnessing an 11-day complete lockdown since May 5 (Wednesday) as the state is struggling to combat the spread of the Covid-19 disease.
All essential services in the state including medical, civil defence, telecommunication, water supply, fire services have been exempted from the lockdown. All government and private offices will remain closed. Shops selling groceries and retail outlets selling fruits, vegetables, dairy products, poultry items are allowed to remain open from 7am till 11am. Religious places, educational institutions, parks, cinema halls, gymnasiums and public gatherings have been suspended. Restaurants and hotels will be closed but home delivery is allowed. Weddings are allowed with only 50 people but taking out ‘baraat’ processions is not allowed.
Movement of vehicles is banned. However public transport for passengers going to railway stations, bus stations and airports is allowed with 50 per cent seating capacity.
(With agency inputs)