A day after the Union government barred all international commercial passenger flights from landing in India for a week, state governments Friday tightened the lockdown to check the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases. This came even as the total number of cases climbed to 236, with 63 new cases being confirmed on Friday — the highest single-day jump so far.
While Maharashtra, which has reported the highest number of cases, imposed a complete shutdown — barring essential services — in some cities including Mumbai and Pune, the Delhi and Uttar Pradesh governments ordered closure of all malls. The Haryana government decided to impose Section 144 of the CrPC to prohibit the assembly of large groups of people.
Ordering all shops and offices in Mumbai Metropolitan Region, Pune, Pimpri Chinchwad and Nagpur to shut down from Friday midnight till March 31, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said only essential services, including food, milk and medicines, would be allowed. These are the areas which have reported COVID-19 cases in the state.
According to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare data, the state has reported 52 cases so far. Thackeray said government offices will operate at 25 per cent attendance, and banks will remain functional. He ruled out shutting down public transport in Mumbai, but urged people to stay at home.
In Delhi, where 17 cases have been reported so far, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted that “in view of the prevailing situation, we are closing down all malls (except grocery, pharmacy and vegetable shops in them)”.
The government has also decided to discontinue its non-essential services till March-end, after which the situation will be reviewed. All non-essential staff are being directed to work from home.
The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said several markets will remain shut for three days from Saturday. The Delhi Metro will also shut its services for a day on Sunday.
In Haryana, the government ordered district authorities to impose Section 144 of CrPC to prohibit the gathering of 20 or more people. “Adequate consideration may, however, be provided to movement of people in public transport (trains, buses etc) or in any other mode of transport, specially in the eventuality of medical emergencies,” it said.
In Uttar Pradesh, which has reported 23 cases, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath ordered the closure of all malls and directed officials to sanitise Lucknow, Noida and Kanpur cities. Essential services will be allowed to remain open.
Earlier, the Lucknow district administration ordered the closure of all bars, cafes/ lounges, hair salons, beauty parlours and eateries till March 31.
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