The Centre on Monday warned that the coronavirus situation is “especially serious” in Mumbai, Pune, Indore, Jaipur, Kolkata and some places in West Bengal, adding that violation of lockdown guidelines can lead to spread of the infection. The government said it would send six inter-ministerial teams to these places to assess the situation and give necessary directions to the states for redressal.

On Monday, the country recorded the biggest daily jump in the number of new coronavirus cases 1,553 people tested positive in the preceding 24 hours taking the total to 17,265. The toll increased to 543 after 36 patients died. However, the Indian Council of Medical Research, the country’s nodal body for coronavirus testing, reported 17,615 cases. The health ministry said that their figures are “being reconciled” with ICMR.

“The situation is ‘especially serious’ in Indore in Madhya Pradesh, Mumbai and Pune in Maharashtra, Jaipur in Rajasthan, and Kolkata, Howrah, East Medinipur, North 24 Parganas, Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Jalpaiguri in West Bengal,” the home ministry said in a letter to states and Union Territories. “Violation of lockdown measures reported, posing a serious health hazard to public and risk for spread of Covid-19.”

The government pointed out that there have been several incidents of violence against healthcare professionals, complete violation of social distancing norms, and movement of vehicles in urban areas. “These should be stopped,” it said.

Two inter-ministerial central teams each will be sent to Maharashtra and West Bengal and one each to Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, and they will submit their report to the Centre. “The IMCTs will focus on compliance and implementation of the lockdown measures as per guidelines, supply of essential commodities, social distancing, preparedness of health infrastructure, safety of health professionals and conditions of relief camps for labourers and poor people,” a home ministry spokesperson said.

Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla has asked all states and Union Territories to strictly comply with the government guidelines and ensure their implementation of the lockdown without any dilution.

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