In a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus in the country, a total of 33 states and Union territories have declared complete lockdown covering 560 districts, an official said on Tuesday (March 24).
Three other states and UTs have imposed lockdown in certain areas in their territories, covering 58 districts, and one union territory has imposed closure of some activities in its jurisdiction.
“Following the central government’s communication to state governments and UTs, a total of 32 states and UTs have imposed complete lockdown covering 560 districts,” a government official said. There are 28 states and eight UTs in the country.
Concerned over the movement of public in several cities despite the announcement of a countrywide lockdown, the Centre advised state governments and Union Territory administrations to impose curfew wherever necessary. As many people continued to venture out despite the lockdown order, Puducherry, besides Punjab and Maharashtra, had ordered curfew so that no one goes out of home.
Cases touch 500
The death toll due to the COVID-19 pandemic rose to ten, while the number of confirmed cases crossed the 500-mark, the health ministry said on Tuesday. As cases of the viral infection surged, authorities have put almost the entire country under lockdown, banning gathering of people and suspending road, rail and air traffic till March 31.
States in total lockdown
The states which have imposed lockdown in all districts include Chandigarh, Delhi, Goa, Jammu and Kashmir and Nagaland. The other states include: Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Ladakh, Tripura, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Meghalaya, Jharkhand, Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Haryana, Daman Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Karnataka and Assam.
Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, meanwhile, has written a letter to State Chief Secretaries urging them to monitor the situation round the clock, adding that additional restrictions, if necessary, may be imposed and all current restrictions must be enforced strongly and all violations should be met with legal action.
Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla also held a video conference with DGPs of all states and asked them to strictly implement the lockdown and take action against those who violate it.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has appealed to state governments to ensure that rules and regulations of the coronavirus lockdown are enforced strictly as he noted that many people were not following the measures seriously.
Related news: India’s COVID-19 cases touch 500, death toll at 10
“Many people are still not taking the lockdown seriously. Please save yourself, save your family, follow the instructions seriously. I request state governments to ensure rules and laws are followed,” Modi said in a tweet in Hindi.
Section 144 in Kashmir
Police vehicles fitted with public address systems went around the residential areas in Srinagar and elsewhere in the valley on Tuesday to announce that restrictions under Section 144 CrPC had been imposed, a day after 49 people were arrested for violating the lockdown order, officials said.
The police also used drones in some parts of the city to announce restrictions on the movement of people, they added. The union territory administration on Sunday announced a lockdown across Jammu and Kashmir till 31 March as part of its efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Kerala’s shop timings
Government had said on Monday that all essential shops will remain open from 7 am to 5 pm, while in worst-hit Kasaragod they will function from 11 am to 5 pm. Prohibitory orders are in force in six districts — Kasaragod, Malappuram, Wayanad, Kozhikode, Ernakulam and Pathnamthitta districts.
Police said a case has been registered against six people in Kannur for coming out of their homes without any valid reason. There was a long queue in front of a liquor outlet in Kannur and BJP workers, wearing masks, protested against the opening of the state-run retail shop.
Vet clinics to remain open
The Centre on Tuesday directed state governments to allow normal functioning of veterinary hospitals and clinics. However, veterinarians and related officials should ensure strict personal hygiene and avoid public gathering, the Union Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fishery Ministry said in a directive.
Social distancing in supermarkets
Big retailers, which are presently dispensing only essential items amid the lockdown, are taking precautionary measures like restricted entry and marked lines to maintain social distancing to avoid coronavirus infection at their stores. Some stores as Reliance Fresh, More, Walmart and Metro Cash & Carry are even screening body temperature of their customers before allowing them entry into the store.
Lockdown hardships of zoo animals
A large number of zoos across the country have been facing “severe hardships” in arranging food and drinking water for animals due to the restrictions imposed, the Central Zoo Authority said on Tuesday. The authority, a statutory body of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, has now written to states and Union territories to specify supply of food and drinking water, and upkeep and health care of captive animals in zoos as “essential services” to exempt them from the restrictions.
(With inputs from agencies)