Uttar Pradesh: Parts of 15 districts completely sealed starting midnight
To limit the coronavirus transmission, the Uttar Pradesh government has decided to completely seal parts of 15 districts, from midnight today. This effectively means that more stringent restrictions will be imposed and people's movements will be halted. RK Tiwari, Chief Secretary, said this step was taken to prevent community spread of COVID-19 and noted that numbers are already high in these areas. Here's more.
Lucknow, Noida, Agra to have more strict rules
The fifteen districts where restrictions will be imposed include Lucknow, Agra, Ghaziabad, Gautam Buddh Nagar (Noida), Kanpur, Varanasi, Shamli, Meerut, Bareilly, Bulandshahar, Firozabad, Maharajganj, Sitapur, Saharanpur, and Basti. The restrictions will remain in place till April 15, after which a decision will be taken, said reports. In UP, the number of coronavirus positive cases reached 326, with most cases being linked to Tablighi Jamaat.
Doorstep deliveries allowed, curfew passes to be reviewed
The administration has identified places where more than six cases have been reported as hotspots. Reports suggested only doorstep deliveries and medical services will be allowed from now on. No movement will be allowed to and from these hotspots and the curfew passes will be reviewed. "15 districts have a high viral load of COVID-19. So affected areas will be sealed," Tiwari said.
It's being done to prevent community spread: Tiwari
#WATCH: 15 districts have high viral load of #COVID19. So affected areas will be sealed. Only home delivery medical teams will be allowed there. It's being done to prevent community spread, as numbers are high: RK Tiwari, Chief Secretary pic.twitter.com/BkNrCkvUnd— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) April 8, 2020
So, is UP following the Bhilwara model?
A more strict lockdown when one already existed hints that UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath might be following the Bhilwara model. Rajasthan's Bhilwara emerged as a coronavirus hotspot with over 25 cases but a major crisis was averted with a "ruthless containment" strategy. Officials screened rural, urban areas; enforced lockdown strictly and as a result no new case has been reported since April 2.
Today, Modi hinted lockdown won't be lifted on April 14
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi hinted that the 21-day lockdown might not be lifted any time soon. He made these remarks today while speaking to politicians of all parties through a video call. The BJP leader said he will consult with Chief Ministers before finalizing the decision. To note, some CMs like Telangana's KCR and Madhya Pradesh's Shivraj Singh Chouhan are already on board.
Meanwhile, wearing masks has been made compulsory in UP
"Wearing of masks have been made compulsory in the state. There can be legal action also for not wearing masks," Additional Chief Secretary (Home), UP, Awanish Awasthi, told media a short while ago.