States step up curbs as Covid-19 tightens grip
Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan imposed complete lockdowns on Thursday, joining a number of other states that have curbed movement of people and banned gatherings to arrest the second wave of coronavirus infections.
Kerala decided to enforce an eight- day lockdown beginning Saturday, with chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan blaming the “worsening” Covid-19 situation for the move.
Kerala recorded 42,464 new infections on Thursday, the highest since the outbreak hit the state last year.
Though its fatality rate is the lowest in the country (below 0.4%), statistics show it is also climbing steadily in the last one week with 58 deaths reported in the last 24 hours. In terms of total cases of the viral infection, Kerala is at the third spot after Maharashtra and Karnataka.
“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,” Vijayan tweeted. The CM said there was no need for panic.
“Availability of essential articles/services will be ensured. Lockdown is essential to ensure #COVID19 spread is contained and that our lives are secure. Let us all cooperate. We shall overcome,” he added.
In Madhya Pradesh, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said the only way to break the chain of transmission and contain Covid-19 cases was for people to “close down everything” till May 15.
Chouhan also announced free treatment for patients from poor financial background, common citizens and middle class population in Madhya Pradesh, an official of the state’s public relations department said.
To facilitate this, a package will be unveiled on Friday under the Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme. Also, the government plans to sign an agreement with private hospitals for free CT scan and other medical tests, the official said.
“Corona is a big crisis for humanity. The only option to control the corona is to break the chain of infections. We cant close down everything for long. We have to make peoples life easy. Therefore, till May 15, we should close down everything. Strictly follow janata curfew and break the chain of infection,” Chouhan said.
Currently, Madhya Pradesh is under a slew of restrictions to stem the spread of COVID-19.
Chouhan said health infrastructure was being readied to deal with a possible third wave of infections. “Oxygen plants are being set up in each district. A total of 95 such plants will be established in the state,” he said
Madhya Pradesh on Thursday reported 12,421 fresh cases and 86 fatalities,according to the HT dashboard.
He asked officials to launch a “kill corona campaign” in cities and villages by conducting door-to-door surveys and identifying patients whose treatment can start immediately.
The Rajasthan government has imposed a lockdown in the state from May 10 till May 24 to curb the spread of Covid-19. Weddings in the state have been banned till May 31.
In view of a fresh surge in COVID-19 cases, curfew was extended in the three heavy caseload districts of Dehradun, Udham Singh Nagar and Haridwar in Uttarakhand till May 10.
The curfew, which was imposed in the last week of April, was earlier scheduled to end on Thursday. The order asked the DMs of the remaining 10 districts to assess the situation in their areas and impose curfew from May 6 to May 10 (till 5 am), if required. However, there shall be no restriction on inter-state and intra-state movement during the period, the order said. Ration shops will open on alternate days, while milk booths and vegetable shops will be allowed to operate till only 12 pm daily.
Uttarakhand recorded its highest caseload in a day with the detection of 8,517 fresh infections on Thursday.
On Thursday, Dehradun district reported the highest number of fresh cases at 3,123 followed by 1,130 in Udham Singh Nagar, 1,045 in Haridwar