Week-long lockdown in 5 UP cities, including Lucknow and Varanasi
As Uttar Pradesh sees a record surge in coronavirus infections, five major cities in the state are set to go on a lockdown starting Monday night. A lockdown will be enforced in Lucknow, Prayagraj, Varanasi, Kanpur, and Gorakhpur till April 26 (next Monday). The lockdown was ordered after the intervention of the Allahabad High Court, which blamed the state government for the "chaotic" situation.
All government/private establishments will remain closed, except financial institutions and financial departments, medical and health services, industrial and scientific establishments, essential services including municipal functions, and public transport, according to Bar and Bench. Containment zones shall be notified every day in two leading Hindi and English newspapers having wide circulation in the districts of Prayagraj, Lucknow, Varanasi, Kanpur Nagar/Dehat, and Gorakhpur.
All public movements on roads will be restricted completely, except for medical help and emergencies. All religious activities in public of any kind are directed to remain suspended. Religious establishments of any kind are directed to remain closed. All educational institutions and other institutions relating to other disciplines and activities shall remain closed including for their teachers and instructors and other staff.
Street hawkers including fruits and vegetable vendors, milk vendors and bread vendors, shall go off the road by 11 am every day. Grocery shops and other commercial shops excluding medical shops, with more than three workers, shall remain closed. Shopping complexes and malls, hotels, restaurants, and even the small eating points on thelas, etc., shall remain closed.
No social functions and gatherings including marriage functions will be allowed. In case a wedding has already been fixed, the concerned individuals must seek permission from the District Magistrate. The District Magistrate must take a decision giving due consideration to the prevailing COVID-19 situation in the region where the wedding is supposed to take place. Gatherings would be limited to 25 persons.
A bench of Justices Ajit Kumar and Siddhartha Varma pulled up the UP government for its lack of response, noting that the health system could collapse without urgent steps. The court also noted that the state's CM, Yogi Adityanath, is himself down with COVID-19. The court urged the state to implement a robust vaccination drive and suggested a complete two-week-long state-wide lockdown.