May 6, 2021 6:04:23 am
The Uttar Pradesh government on Wednesday extended Covid-19 restrictions across the state till 7 am on May 10, weeks after it obtained from the Supreme Court a stay on an Allahabad High Court order to impose a weeklong lockdown in five districts. A senior government official, however, said the current curbs were not part of a lockdown, and instead insisted on calling it a “closure”.
Last week, the government had extended the weekend lockdown till May 3, saying Mondays would be covered too. On May 3, the restrictions were extended till 7 am on May 6. The latest instructions were issued on a day a weeklong Covid testing drive began in rural areas to stop the disease from wreaking havoc in villages.
In its order, the government said the “aanshik corona curfew”, or partial Covid-19 curfew, would not affect emergency and essential services, and added that they would continue to function unhindered along with industrial activities and e-commerce services.
Outside containment zones, grocery shops, and shops selling essential items of daily use such as milk and vegetables can remain open. Pharmacies and shops selling surgical instruments will also not come under the purview of the order. Nothing except emergency services and doorstep deliveries will be allowed in containment zones.
Though the government has said those searching for medicines and oxygen will not be stopped, it has introduced an e-pass system.
According to the UP Home Department, which extended the restrictions, buses belonging to the Uttar Pradesh Road Transport Department will not be allowed to leave the state boundaries. The public transport system has been instructed to follow sanitisation protocols and ensure social distancing.
Meanwhile, the government said instructions had been issued for opening quarantine centres in gram panchayats, which number over 58,000. At a meeting of pandemic monitoring committees, Chief Minister Adityanath ordered officials to ensure that community kitchens are operated for roadside vendors and daily wage earners.
With the government worried about the disease spinning beyond control in rural areas, the Covid testing drive has been started to keep the pandemic in check. Monitoring committees will go from house to house in villages and screen people’s temperature and oxygen level. Those found to have symptoms will be made to take a rapid antigen test. If found positive, they will either be admitted to hospitals or quarantine centres, or advised home isolation. Those advised home isolation will be provided with a medical kit.
The government has asked district administrations to double the number of beds in hospitals in their jurisdiction, and allocate one hospital for non-Covid patients.
The administration, which is being advised by a team of experts, has started a special sanitisation drive to disinfect public places across the state and has formed 58,368 monitoring committees.
With inputs from PTI
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