Coronavirus: Restrictions continue in J&K, most mosques, shrines closed

Srinagar, Mar 27 (PTI) The restrictions on the movement and assembly of people to contain the spread of the coronavirus continued in Kashmir for the ninth day on Friday as most mosques and shrines were shut to avoid large gatherings for congregational prayers, officials said.

The curbs were tightened across the valley in the wake of detection of more COVID-19 cases, they added.

Many roads have been sealed off in the valley and barriers erected by the security forces to check the movement of people.

Police vehicles fitted with public address systems went around the residential areas of the city and elsewhere in the valley till late on Thursday as well as in the morning hours of Friday to announce that restrictions under section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) were imposed.

The police were also using drones in some parts of the city to announce the restrictions on the movement of people, the officials said.

Most of the mosques and shrines across the valley, including those in the summer capital here, were closed on the appeal of the administration to avoid large gatherings for congregational prayers on Friday, they added.

While Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the 21-day countrywide lockdown on Tuesday evening, the Union Territory administration here had announced a lockdown across Jammu and Kashmir till March 31 on Sunday as part of its efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The administration said essential services, including healthcare personnel, were exempted from the restrictions.

It asked people to cooperate and warned of action for violating the prohibitory orders.

The district administrations have put in place a mechanism to ensure uninterrupted supplies and deliveries of essential services to the general public. Essential commodities will be home-delivered to the residents as part of the mechanism.

However, there have been reports of violations by people at several places across the valley, following which the police have taken action by effecting arrests and seizing vehicles.

The markets across the valley were shut and public transport was off the roads with only pharmacies and groceries allowed to open, the officials said.

Educational institutions across Kashmir have been closed, while all public places including gymnasiums, parks, clubs and restaurants were shut down more than a week before the lockdown announced by the prime minister.

Restrictions were first imposed in many parts of the valley on Thursday last week to contain the spread of the virus. The measures were taken after a 67-year-old woman from the Khanyar area of the city, who had returned from Saudi Arabia on March 16 after performing Umrah, tested positive for COVID-19.

The number of coronavirus cases has gone up to 10 in the valley, while the figure for the Union Territory is 13.

One patient has recovered from the disease in Kashmir, while another one succumbed at a hospital here on Thursday morning. PTI SSB MIJ RC