Night curfew, tightened curbs as Covid-19 rages across country
Several states across India clamped stricter curbs on assembly and movement of people, shut popular establishments and imposed night curfews on Monday in an attempt to arrest an alarming spike in Covid-19 infections that has gripped India.
Punjab extended its night curfew duration by an hour and shut gyms, pubs and spas, Rajasthan closed down all offices and markets until May 3, Kerala imposed a curfew between 9pm and 6am every day and Odisha ordered a weekend lockdown in all urban areas from April 24 till further notice. The national capital announced a weeklong lockdown until April 26. As of Monday night, there were a total of 2,030,725 active cases across the country, the highest active caseload ever recorded in India since the start of the outbreak in March last year, according to HT’s Covid-19 dashboard.
A Punjab government order said that fresh restrictions will come into effect from Tuesday, adding that curfew timings will now be from 8pm to 5am, instead of the earlier 9pm to 5am. The new restrictions, which also include closure of all malls, shops and markets on Sundays, coupled with the ones imposed earlier, will remain in effect till April 30, Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh said.
“I understand that the restrictions we are imposing from tomorrow because of spike in #Covid19 may inconvenience people. However, these steps are necessary to prevent the spread of #Covid19 & to save lives. Request you to abide by them & to take care of yourself,” the chief minister tweeted.
On Monday, there were 4,622 new cases in the state and 83 fatalities. At present, there are 304,660 Covid cases in Punjab.
In Rajasthan, the government ordered the closure of all offices and markets till May 3. According to an official release issued by home secretary Abhay Kumar, only shops and offices providing essential services will remain open during the 15-day period which the government has called Jan Anushasan Pakhwada (public discipline fortnight). Those entering Rajasthan will have to show a negative RT-PCR report issued 72 hours prior to the travel. On Monday, there were 11,715 new cases in the state, taking the overall tally to 426,584. “We are in a dangerous situation and everyone must follow the guidelines and adopt Covid-appropriate behaviour,” said chief minister Ashok Gehlot. Kerala imposed curfew between 9pm and 6am from Tuesday. The decision was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by chief secretary V P Joy. Kerala logged 13,644 cases on Monday, pushing the tally to 1,253,068
The state government has also directed all domestic travellers coming to the state to undergo RT-PCR tests. Odisha announced a weekend lockdown in all urban areas from April 24 as the state reported a record single-day surge of 4,445 new infections.
“It is seen that the number of Covid cases are showing increasing trend in the state. Therefore, the state government has decided to impose weekend shutdown in all urban areas across the state from April 24,” said special relief commissioner Pradip Jena. “We initially thought the peak of the second wave in Odisha would come by April 25. But now it seems no one can predict for sure. None of the health experts know when will the peak come. Today the cases surged to more than 4,500. Tomorrow it can go beyond 5,500. We just don’t how the double mutant strain is behaving,” said PK Mohapatra, additional chief secretary (health) of Odisha. The state on Monday stopped interstate bus movement and limited the number of guests at weddings to 50.