Lucknow: The Uttar Pradesh government has decided to impose a complete lockdown in places which have emerged as COVID-19 hotspots. This is being done to check the spread of Coronavirus. The order will come into effect from 12 am tonight and will continue till April 15.
The 15 districts where hotspots will be shut down are Lucknow, Kanpur, Varanasi, Agra, Ghaziabad, Gautambudh Nagar (Noida), Shamli, Meerut, Bareilly, Bulandshahar, Firozabad, Maharajganj, Sitapur, Saharanpur and Basti.
Briefing reporters, additional chief secretary home Avanish Awasthi said that in the identified districts there are multiple hotspots.
In Agra, identified hotspots are 22, Ghaziabad (13), Gautam Buddha Nagar and Kanpur (12 each), Varanasi (4), Shamli (3), Meerut (7), Bulandshahr, Basti and Ferozabad (3 each), Bareilly (1), Sitapur (1), Saharanpur and Maharajganj (4 each) and 12 in Lucknow.
Keeping in mind the multiple hotspots, in districts like Agra, Lucknow, Ghaziabad, Gautam Buddha Nagar and Kanpur, a large part of the districts will be sealed.
Twelve Corona hotspots identified in the affected districts had already been sealed earlier. These include four localities of Varanasi and Meerut and three in Lucknow.
The additional chief secretary, home, said that vehicular movement will be completely banned in the sealed areas. Journalists and photo journalists will also not be allowed in these areas.
All grocery and vegetables shops, petrol pumps, banks and ATMs will remain closed in the hotspot areas.
The government will ensure doorstep delivery of all essential commodities for the residents and no one will be allowed to step out of their house. In some areas, resident will not be allowed to move on their terraces.
He said that chief minister Yogi Adityanath had ordered that the lockdown, henceforth, is to be ‘firmly implemented’ across the state, particularly in the 15 districts.
Awasthi said that wearing masks has been made compulsory and action could be taken against those violating the decision.
Earlier, the chief secretary had said that all 15 districts would be completely sealed.
A high-level meeting of top police and civil officials was immediately convened in which it was decided to first seal the hotspots and strictly implement the lockdown.
This was apparently done to prevent panic among people because after reports that the lockdown could be extended, large scale panic buying was seen across the state. Crowds gathered at banks and grocery shops and the police had a tough time controlling the crowd and ensuring social distancing.
Of the 37 districts affected by Corona virus, these 15 districts have reported the maximum number of cases.
Awasthi said that these restrictions on movement will check the virus load in the affected districts.
He appealed to the people not to panic because all essentials would be made available to them through the helpline.
By EP Web Desk
(With Inputs From IANS)