With cases on a steady high, multiple states called for or extended lockdowns and curbs on Thursday, with Kerala announcing a nine-day lockdown, starting Saturday morning, and Madhya Pradesh extending the curfew until May 15.
The Rajasthan government announced a strict lockdown between May 10 and 24, and Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said a decision on enforcing a lockdown in the state will be taken in another two or three days.
In Bhopal, MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan urged people to follow public curfew and announced free treatment for the poor for Covid-19 through Ayushman Bharat Scheme. In the new scheme, the government will tie up with private hospitals for a package to treat people for free. Emphasising the need to get the situation under control, Chouhan also urged people to stop all wedding functions, calling them super-spreader events, and said MGNREGA work should be stopped in villages reporting positive cases.
“Jeevan mein shaadi hoti hai, Jeevan nahi rahega toh shaadi kis kaam ki (there will be weddings in one’s life, but how will marriages take place if there is no life),” Chouhan said, urging people to put a stop on weddings and postpone them unless they are held virtually. He said he would participate in such weddings virtually and give his blessings.
The Kerala government announced that essential services, agricultural, NREGS and similar livelihood activities would be permitted, but all state and Central government offices, except those in essential services, would remain closed during the lockdown, which would end on May 16 midnight.
On Thursday, Kerala reported over 42,000 new cases, the highest ever daily tally, taking active caseload to 3.90 lakh. The government has directed all district collectors to ensure welfare of migrant workers in the state.
In Rajasthan, weddings have been prohibited till May 31 and all programmes associated with weddings are also prohibited till end of the month. Now, weddings will be permitted only if they’re held at home or at the court.
Goa CM Sawant said restrictions imposed by the state were tougher this time, while Deputy CM Chandrakant Kavlekar said all MLAs seemed to be on board with effecting a lockdown in the state that is currently under “restrictions”.