Maharashtra’s Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad cities will go under a complete lockdown from July 13 to July 23 amid a sharp increase in coronavirus cases, ANI reported on Friday. Twenty two villages in Pune will also be put under strict restrictions.

Pune Divisional Commissioner Deepak Mhaisekar said that only shops selling essentials like dairy products, medical stores and hospitals will be allowed to remain open during the lockdown.

Mhaisekar told The Indian Express that the lockdown will be stricter in the first five days. “After first five days of strict lockdown when only milk sellers, pharmacies and clinics will be allowed to operate, the situation will be reviewed and sale of some essential items will be given. Separate orders will be issued, some for those providing the essential services. The decision has been taken after holding wide discussions,” he said.

The announcement of the lockdown came after Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar held a meeting with the officials in Pune to discuss the city’s plan to contain the infection. He said that it was important to implement aggressive measures to control the spread of the infection. “You take example of England, they’ve also imposed lockdown again,” he was quoted as saying by ANI after the meeting. “Sometimes when people don’t follow rules, some decisions like this have to be taken. We implemented lockdown in Thane as well.”

Pawar asked the people of Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad to stock up on supplies over the next two days as only shops selling essentials will be allowed to remain open.

Meanwhile, people were seen crowding outside liquor stores in Pune after the lockdown was announced.

Pune reported a record 1,803 new infections on Friday, taking its overall count to 34,399. The toll reached 978 with 34 new deaths. Pimpri-Chinchwad, on the other hand, has reported nearly 7,000 coronavirus cases so far. More than 2.3 lakh cases have been reported from Maharashtra so far.

Several other states are reverting to strict lockdowns as coronavirus cases continue to increase at an alarming rate. The Uttar Pradesh government on Thursday imposed a complete lockdown in the state from 10 pm on Friday to 5 am on July 13. Bihar’s capital Patna, on the other hand, will go under lockdown from July 10 to July 16.

India registered a record 26,506 new coronavirus cases on Friday morning, taking the overall count to 7,93,802. The toll in India rose to 21,604 with 475 new deaths. More than 4.95 lakh people have recovered.

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