A day after Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath indicated that lockdown might be lifted in a phased manner after April 14, the UP government on Monday that there is still uncertainty over the lifting of the lockdown since the number of coronavirus cases, especially those related to Tablighi Jamaat, has been on an upswing.
The government’s clarification comes on a day when the number of coronavirus cases in the state crossed 300, almost half of them linked to those who had attended the Tablighi Jamaat congregation at the Delhi Markaz in middle of March.
“In the past three-four days, at least 159 coronavirus cases related to Tablighi Jamaat have been reported in the state. Considering the sensitivity of the situation, it would not be right to say that the lockdown will be lifted after April 14,” Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Kumar Awasthi said.
Stating that a mechanism should be in place to ensure that crowding doesn’t take place once the lockdown is lifted, Awasthi said: “If even one case remains, lifting the lockdown would not be right as the entire work is done so far to contain the spread of the virus would go in vain and we will be back on square one. At this preliminary stage, it is impossible to say if it will be lifted after April 14. It will take time.”
He said the list of contacts of COVID-19 patients has also grown manifold. Wherever cases have come to light, police have acted fast to ensure strict compliance of the lockdown, he added.
“Our priority is to first take up the treatment of patients who have tested positive and then those who came in contact with them, besides tracing the chain of other contacts,” Awasthi said.
On Sunday, while speaking to MPs and MLAs from the state and some religious leaders, Chief Minister Adityanath had said: “The lockdown is till April 14, and from April 15, it will be lifted in a phased manner… On April 15, we must ensure that large crowds do not come out all of a sudden. If there are suggestions, then help plan strategy on how to maintain social distancing after April 15.”
24 labs being readied for COVID-19 test
The UP government said that it has begun work to ready at least 24 laboratories for coronavirus testing in the state. The 24 would include up-gradation of existing laboratories of 10 medical colleges and establishing of molecular laboratories at 14 new medical colleges in the state.
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