How many districts in Chhattisgarh are under lockdown?
In Chhattisgarh, the state government gave the power of decision to the district collectors. As of Tuesday (September 22), 16 out of the 28 districts have gone under lockdown. While Raipur has shown the largest number of positive cases, 27,711; Durg has 8,346, Rajnandgaon has 6,589, Bilaspur has 6,020 and Raigarh has 4,827. Cases have been spiking with close to 2,000 positive patients being detected every day. Several politicians including the ex-CM Raman Singh have tested positive and self isolated themselves.
Why a lockdown during times of ‘Unlock’?
Even as the country is unlocking and the number of those being cured has increased, Chhattisgarh, which has a population of around 3 crore, has registered 677 deaths, and over 88,000 cases after testing close to 9 lakh people, according to data available with the state department. In the past two months, the cases have gone up sharply. In Raipur, Collector S Bharatidasan issued orders marking the entire district as a containment zone and then issuing a lockdown, which is in some ways stricter than the national lockdown.
How is Raipur’s lockdown more strict than the national lockdown imposed in March?
After the state government handed over the power to impose lockdowns to the district collector, with the only condition being that the district authorities give two days’ notice before imposing lockdown, several districts last week announced lockdown to begin from this week. For a week, in Raipur, no shops including vegetable vendors and ration shops are to open. Milk delivery is allowed for only two hours in the morning and evening. In fact, milk shops will be able to sell milk only from a stall outside the shop, without the shop being opened. Several police posts have been set up on important roads in the capital city, and the policemen have been instructed to seize the vehicles of those found violating lockdown. Earlier, the Raipur collector had limited the sale of petrol or diesel only to the vehicles of government servants involved in essential duties, but later relaxed it to anyone carrying an e-pass, or examination ID cards.
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What is the point of a week-long lockdown?
According to Raipur collector S Bharatidasan, the lockdown was needed to prepare people for the self discipline needed. “Lockdowns don’t mean much unless people follow through. We are trying to instill the discipline, and telling people that after lockdown things won’t change much and they should still stay at home,” he said. According to officials, the lockdown is also a chance for the ground level staff to increase surveillance and catch up on the vulnerable cases. “The idea is to catch the infection in the early stage,” the official said. Collector Bharatidasan stressed, “A lockdown is not a solution. Voluntary discipline of staying at home, going to public places with masks and taking the Covid-19 infection seriously is the only way out.”
Are other government bodies working during the lockdown?
While all government offices have been shut after a high number of cases from the secretariat and other offices, all government officials have been asked to be available on phone and have been asked to be on work from home mode. The CM has been remotely working out of his home as well, and even inaugurated the Jagdalpur airport remotely.