'Need for a lockdown': Gujarat HC tells state govt amid rising Covid-19 cases
After the High Court of Gujarat on Tuesday asked the state government to consider imposing a curfew for a few days as the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) situation was getting 'out of control', the government decided to impose night curfew and a few other measures effective from Wednesday.
The night curfew will be from 8pm to 6am in 20 cities up to April 30. Only 100 people will be permitted in weddings and all political and social functions with more than 50 people have been banned till April 30. Additionally, all government offices will remain shut on Saturdays, the government notice said.
Gujarat on Monday recorded over 3,000 fresh cases of the virus.
During an online hearing, a bench of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Bhargav Karia said a lockdown or curfew for 3 to 4 days is needed to curb the spread of the virus. "Urgent and serious steps need to be taken to check this. Otherwise, the Covid-19 situation will go out of hand. May be three-four days of curfew or lockdown can be imposed to check the situation at the moment," Chief Justice Nath said, according to news agency PTI. All kinds of gatherings, including political functions, should be stopped, he added.
The night curfew imposed from between 9pm and 6am in four major cities of Gujarat was not proving to be effective, according to Chief Justice Nath. On March 31, night curfew in Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot was extended till April 15. This was the seventh extension of the night curfew, which first came into force in November 2020, after a spike in Covid-19 cases in these cities after Diwali.
"You can always open it after three-four days of curfew. But, this curfew will help, I think. Like, initially in March 2020, there was a curfew for two days, three days," Chief Justice Nath said.
Justice Karia said steps needed to be taken to reduce the number of people going to office in order to break the chain of infection. To make sure "less number of people come in contact" with each other, he suggested that the government should limit the number of employees coming to offices or commercial establishments.
To these suggestions, Advocate General Kamal Trivedi said he will take instructions from the state government and revert, according to PTI. "Day before yesterday, the government was seriously thinking about imposing a lockdown. But, there were views that a lockdown is likely to cause misery to the poor people," the advocate general said, adding that the government is in a 'Catch-22' situation.
(with agency inputs)