Weekend lockdown in several states amid rapid surge in COVID cases; ‘Janta curfew’ in Nagpur

More high-risk areas were brought under lockdown on Saturday for varying periods, including weekends, by states in a bid to check the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases in India.
Over a dozen states have so far opted for such selective lockdown citing the need to revive economic activities and at the same time reduce the risk of spread of infection, though Bihar and Manipur have imposed a state-wide shutdown from July 16 and July 23 respectively.
In Madhya Pradesh, where Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan tested positive for coronavirus and was admitted to a hospital, a 10-day lockdown has been imposed in state capital Bhopal after a spike in cases. The state has been observing total shutdown on Sundays.
A complete lockdown till Monday morning was imposed in Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu, which too has been enforcing shutdown every Sunday. Tamil Nadu on Saturday breached the grim milestone of two lakh coronavirus cases with the biggest daily spike of 6,988 fresh infections, pushing the tally to 2,06,737, according to state officials.
While Uttar Pradesh observed another weekend lockdown, similar curbs were imposed for the second time this month in Uttarakhand’s four districts — Dehradun, Haridwar, Nainital and Udham Singh Nagar districts — which have reported 1,348 cases since July 18.
All shops were shut and transport suspended in West Bengal as part of the twice-a-week lockdown in the state.
Jammu went into a 60-hour lockdown from Friday 6 PM, while a six-day complete lockdown has been imposed across the Kashmir Valley except Bandipora since Thursday.
In its most recent update, the union health ministry placed the total number of cases at 13,36,861 and the death toll at 31,358. Nearly 11.4 lakh cases have been reported in June-July alone when lockdown restrictions were eased.
In worst-affected Maharashtra, where over 3.5 lakh cases have been recorded, civic authorities of Nagpur city announced a voluntary ‘janta curfew’ on Saturday and Sunday, when only essential services will remain functional.
The step has been taken to bring public awareness about behavioural change towards COVID-19 rules, but if these rules are not followe, then a strict curfew could be imposed in the city, Nagpur municipal commissioner Tukaram Mundhe warned.
Chief Minster Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday said that he was not in favour of complete lifting of the coronavirus-induced curbs in the state only to address the economic concerns.
Maharashtra too had imposed strict shutdown for varying periods in areas with high incidence of coronavirus infection including Pune.
“I will never say that the lockdown will be lifted completely. But I have started reopening a few things gradually. Once reopened, it shouldn’t be shut again. Hence, I prefer taking steps in phases. You can’t just think about economy or health. There needs to be a balance between the two,” he said in an interview to Shiv Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’.
From June onwards, the government had started lifting the restrictions in phase-wise manner under its ‘Mission Begin Again’ initiative.
A complete lockdown was imposed in Nagaland capital Kohima till July 31, while it will come into effect in Dimapur from Sunday till August 2.
The Meghalaya government too has announced a complete lockdown in Shillong agglomeration from July 26 to July 29.
In Chhattisgarh, a seven-day lockdown has been enforced from Wednesday in municipal limits of Raipur and Birgaon, besides 20 other urban bodies.
Normal life came to a grinding halt in West Bengal on Saturday as shops were shut and all modes of transport went off the roads as part of the state government’s plan to clamp restrictions two days a week. A similar lockdown will take place place next Wednesday.
More than 3,800 people were arrested for flouting lockdown guidelines on Thursday when it was first imposed.
Flight operations at the Kolkata airport were also suspended during the lockdown. Police patrolled all major traffic intersections in the metropolis to keep a check on people coming out on the streets. Barricades were also put up in various parts of the state to stop people from coming out of their homes, officials said.
West Bengal has so far registered 53,973 COVID-19 cases and 1,290 deaths till Friday.
Odisha had ordered a complete 14-day lockdown in five districts of Ganjam, Khordha, Cuttack, Jajpur and Rourkela districts from July 17.
According to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Saturday morning, Delhi has reported 1,28,389 cases, Karnataka 85,870, Andhra Pradesh 80,858, Uttar Pradesh 60,771, West Bengal 53,973, and Gujarat 53,545 cases.
Karnataka has been enforcing a Sunday shutdown this month. A week-long lockdown in Bengaluru had ended on July 22.
The number of COVID-19 cases has gone up to 52,466 in Telangana, 34,178 in Rajasthan, 33,926 in Bihar, 29,755 in Haryana, 29,921 in Assam and 26,210 in Madhya Pradesh.
Odisha has reported 22,693 infections, Jammu and Kashmir 16,782, Kerala 16,995, and Punjab 12,216.
India’s first case of coronavirus was reported on January 30, and on March 25 the country was put under a 21-day complete lockdown, which was then extended periodically.