Coronavirus: Several states announce partial or complete shutdown to contain spread of infection
However, medical and other essential services will be allowed to continue operations.
Several states, including Odisha, Rajasthan and Mizoram, introduced measures to curb overcrowding in public places amid rising coronavirus cases in the country. India’s Union health ministry has confirmed 315 cases so far, and four people have been killed.
In Odisha, the Naveen Patnaik-led administration has announced a week-long lockdown of around 40% of the state between March 22 and March 29, reported The Economic Times. A full lockdown will be observed from 7 am to 9 pm in Cuttack, Khurdha, Kendrapada, Ganjam and Angul districts, including towns such as Puri, Rourkela, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Balasore, Jajpur Road, Jajpur Town and Bhadrak.
Medical services, grocery shops, and stores selling other essential commodities along with restaurants for takeaways and home deliveries will be allowed. However, only public transport will be allowed on the streets, while railway and bus stations, and airports will function normally.
“There is no cure for this virus,” said Patnaik in a video appeal. “The only cure is prevention...Time has come for us to take the extraordinary step and sacrifice, to protect our state and our people. I humbly request you to stay at home and come out only for basic services.” The areas were identified after reviewing the location of 3,200 people who returned from other countries, reported The Hindu. Pension and Public Distribution System has been delayed in the areas for now.
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In Rajasthan, the state administration has initiated a complete lockdown till March 31, reported NDTV. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said essential services will continue to operate but all government and private offices, malls, shops, factories and public transport will be shut.
“In this period of crisis, the government stands with the people of the state,” Gehlot tweeted on Saturday. “Follow the decisions and advisories of the government to defeat the coronavirus so that the situation is not out of control.”
The Mizoram government declared a week-long “partial lockdown” between March 22 and March 29 on the recommendation of a state-level task force to fight the virus. “All shops and business establishments barring pharmacies and shops selling essential commodities will remain closed during the lockdown period,” the order said. “All public transport services and private vehicles will be off the roads during this period.”
Vehicles of people providing essential services, including ambulances, law enforcement agencies, accredited journalists, government officials, those working to combat coronavirus, the ones carrying essential commodities will be exempted, the order said.
“Movement of all people except those concerned with essential commodities and providing essential services and medical personnel is prohibited,” the order read. “All inter-state and international entry/exit points/stations will be closed during this period.” This did not include vehicles with essential commodities coming into Mizoram, and the ones with medical emergencies.
Maharashtra’s Akola district has initiated a lockdown between March 22 and March 24 with all establishments, apart from those providing essential services, will be shut. The decision was taken on similar lines as the ones put in place in the state’s major cities, including Pune, Thane, Nagpur and Mumbai.
The Bihar government ordered a shutdown of all government and private bus services, restaurants, and banquet halls across the state till March 31, reported PTI. However, takeaway services at restaurants and home delivery will be functional.
“The decision was taken for prevention and control of the outbreak of epidemic disease namely COVID-19 in the state,” Health Department Principal Secretary Sanjay Kumar said.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra, Goa, Bihar and West Bengal shut their borders for buses coming into the state from March 22 to March 31, reported The Times of India. Maharashtra has imposed curbs on the entry and exit of state transport buses, those owned by other state transport undertakings and private tourist buses.
From midnight on Saturday, Goa closed its borders with Karnataka and Maharashtra. All passengers vehicles will be barred from entering and only Goa residents will be allowed entry. West Bengal prohibited entry or exit of buses till March 31.