The West Bengal government on Tuesday announced an extension of the lockdown in the state until March 31, in the light of the coronavirus epidemic, PTI reported. On Monday, the Trinamool Congress government had announced that parts of the state would be put under lockdown till March 27.
“After assessing the situation, it has been decided that the ongoing lockdown will be extended to the entire state from 5 pm today,” Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee told reporters.
At least 519 cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in India so far, of which nine people have died. Globally, the number of cases is heading towards 4 lakh, and the toll has risen above 16,000, according to an estimate by the Johns Hopkins University.
The Odisha government also extended the lockdown in the state to all districts from midnight on Tuesday. Fourteen of the state’s 30 districts are currently under lockdown.
Subroto Bagchi, the state government’s chief spokesperson, said the lockdown will be in force till midnight on March 29. He said the decision was taken after the state’s chief secretary, Asit Kumar Tripathy, chaired a meeting with all district collectors.
The Naveen Patnaik-led government had earlier announced suspension of all public transport services including intra-state buses, taxis and auto-rickshaws across the state from Tuesday to restrict movement of people. Bagchi said essential services such as hospitals, pathology laboratories, medicine shops, fire brigade, water and electric supply will continue to operate. He said private agencies engaged in the management of Covid-19 will also be exempted from the lockdown.
The Uttar Pradesh government decided to extend the lockdown to all districts of the state from Wednesday, for a period of three days, PTI reported. Chief Minister Adityanath announced that a curfew could also be imposed in some districts.
Adityanath asked people to stay at home. He said the state borders will be sealed to prevent movement across them. Adityanath said daily wage earners should get their fixed emoluments during the lockdown and steps are being taken to ensure this. The chief minister said that directives have been issued to prevent hoarding and overcharging for essential commodities.
“Masks are not needed by all and only those who need them should use them,” the chief minister added.
As many as 17 districts had earlier placed under lockdown – Agra, Lucknow, Gautam Buddh Nagar, Ghaziabad, Moradabad, Varanasi, Lakhimpur Kheri, Bareilly, Azamgarh, Kanpur, Meerut, Allahabad, Aligarh, Gorakhpur, Saharanpur, Pilibhit and Jaunpur. From Wednesday, all 75 districts will be shut down.
Meanwhile, the Jai Ram Thakur-led Bharatiya Janata Party government in Himachal Pradesh announced a statewide curfew on Tuesday. Thakur said the state government was forced to take the step as several people were not following the lockdown imposed since Monday.
“Several people were moving on the roads despite the restrictions,” he told reporters. “So, the state government was left with no option but to impose curfew in the entire state.”
At least 32 states and Union Territories in India have so far imposed lockdowns or curfews. Hundreds of people have been booked across states for violating the orders.