With only two days left for the extended lockdown to end, the Uttar Pradesh government is grappling with the decision on how and where to allow the relaxations. With over 80 per cent of its 75 districts having coronavirus cases, the government is left with little legroom as the 14 coldspot districts, which have not yet reported any COVID-19 case, are of very little economic significance. Therefore, it all now boils down to how will the government classify the districts for easing the lockdown curbs.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had earlier this week announced that the state will be divided in three zones — red, orange and green —depending on the number of the active coronavirus cases in the state, and accordingly relaxations will be allowed.
He had said that red districts — those with active coronavirus cases — would continue with the lockdown, while the green districts — those yet to report any case — will have relaxations. In orange districts – which have no active coronavirus case — relaxations will depend on the situation then, he had said.
“In these places (with active cases), no activity would be allowed with only medical, sanitation, and doorstep delivery teams to be allowed to operate. In the orange zone, we are going to allow some activities but with some caution. Third, in the green zone, the government is considering some relaxations,” the CM had said.
Taking into consideration the basis of the division of the districts, as enumerated by the CM, 54 districts have active cases (red ) and seven with no active case (orange).
“The final guidelines regarding the kind of relaxation after May 3 are to be issued by the Government of India, but they have been consulting us for the decision. We are consulting them along with keeping a continuous watch on the districts and the developments on a daily basis. Whatever is best for the people will be decided by the Central government and we will follow it,” Chief Secretary Rajendra Kumar Tiwari said.
“There is a possibility that districts with very few cases might be given some relaxation,” Tiwari added.
Based on the data issued by the state Directorate of Health Services on Thursday, as many as 32 districts have 10 or lesser active cases, out of which only four districts have active cases between 6 and 10. This implies that as much as 28 out of 54 districts have five or lesser cases.
If we classify districts based on the number of active cases, Agra stands highest with 363 cases.
Between 151 and 200 active cases, there are two districts – Kanpur Nagar with 189 and Saharanpur with 174 active cases. Only Lucknow (143) has active cases in the 101 to 150 bracket.
Four districts in the state have active cases between 51 and 100 — Firozabad (99), Moradabad (96), Noida (53) and Varanasi (52).
Between 21 and 50 active cases there are seven districts – Meerut (48), Bulandshahr (41), Rae Bareli (44), Aligarh (34), Bijnor (31), Sant Kabir Nagar (23) and Hapur (21).
Another seven districts – Rampur and Amroha with 19 active cases each, Ghaziabad and Sambhal with 18 cases each, Badaun with 15 cases, Muzaffarnagar with 14 and Mathura with 11 active cases — are in the group of 11-20 bracket.
A total 32 districts have 10 or less active cases, out of which only four districts have active cases between 6 and 10 – Basti and Bahraich with 9 cases each, Auraiya and Kannauj with 6 cases each.
“There are around 20 districts where the number of cases is high, but the rest has very few cases. The14 districts in the green zone – Amethi, Ambedkar Nagar, Ballia, Chandauli, Deoria, Kushinagar, Siddharth Nagar, Sonbhadra in east UP, Chitrakoot, Hamirpur, Lalitpur and Mahoba in Bundelkhand, and Fatehgarh and Fatehpur in central UP — are very small districts and they won’t add much if considered on the basis on the economic point of view. However, the final decision will be made around May 3 and will be based on the number of active cases and not the number of total cases,” Director General (Medical Health) Rukum Kesh told The Indian Express.
However, what has made the classification a bit complex is the overall dynamic nature of coronavirus cases. A sudden emergence of the virus cluster could throw all the plans of the government out of the window. For example, Kanpur Nagar district, which had very few cases in the beginning, suddenly reported a spike in mid-April. Pilibhit, which had not reported any coronavirus case for four weeks, suddenly became a red zone.
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