As Covid-19 Surge Leads to Lockdown in Parts of India, Here are All Your FAQs Answered

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As India again witnesses a surge in Covid-19 cases, the Union Health Ministry on Monday said six states — Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu — cumulatively account for 86.25 per cent of the new cases reported in the past 24 hours. The number of active COVID-19 cases in the country reached 1,88,747 on Monday and it is 1.68 per cent of the total infections. The rising number of infections is prompting authorities to impose lockdowns and other virus restrictions.

Q. Which states are witnessing a spike in the Covid-19 count?

The Union Health Ministry said eight states and Union territories — Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka and Haryana — were displaying an upward trajectory in daily new cases. They have a weekly positivity rate more than the national average of 2.29 per cent. Maharashtra has the highest weekly positivity rate with 11.13 per cent, the government said.

Maharashtra has reported a maximum of 11,141 fresh cases in a single day, accounting for 59.90 per cent of the total new cases recorded while Kerala registered 2,100 new infections that account for 11.29 per cent of the new infections. Punjab recorded 1,043 new infections (5.60 per cent of total new cases) in the past 24 hours while Karnataka recorded 622 fresh cases that account for 3.3 per cent of the total new infections, the ministry said. Gujarat recorded 575 new infections in the past 24 hours which account for 3.09 per per cent of new cases while Tamil Nadu recorded 567 new infections that account for 3.04 per cent of the total new infections, the ministry said.

Q. Have Covid-19 restrictions or complete/partial lockdowns been imposed in certain parts of India?

Yes, a few districts, especially in Maharashtra, Punjab and Rajasthan, have witnessed tightened curbs as the Covid-19 cases are on the rise. While districts in Maharashtra face partial lockdowns, a night curfew has been imposed in four districts of Punjab.

Q. Is Maharashtra going to impose lockdown?

Maharashtra Health Minister on Monday called the Covid-19 situation in the state “alarming” and warned that strict action may have to be taken to control cases. Tope, who is set to meet with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, state District Collectors, and Police Commissioners to discuss response plans, also mentioned a possible “lockdown” in reference to some districts, but only “if required”.

Q. What restrictions are in place in Aurangabad?

Aurangabad administration on Sunday decided to impose a “partial lockdown” in the district between March 11 and April 4, as part of which markets, malls and cinema halls shall remain shut during the weekends. Heritage sites of Ajanta and Ellora, and other tourist spots in the district will also remain shut on Saturdays and Sundays, while marriages will not be allowed to be held in function halls during the lockdown period.

Restaurants and hotels can operate at 50 per cent of their seating capacity till 9 pm everyday and people can order food from them till 11 pm. Online education shall continue as colleges, schools, and training institutes shall remain shut and libraries shall operate at 50 per cent of their seating capacity. Political, religious, social meetings, marches will be prohibited during this period. Swimming pools, sports competitions shall not be permitted.

Industries will continue to operate in this period but the the workforce there will be instructed to undergo RT-PCR tests. The administration has decided to shut Jadhavwadi market in Aurangabad city for seven days from March 11.

Q. Will lockdown be imposed in Mumbai?

The Uddhav Thackeray government has considered the possibility of imposing a partial lockdown in Mumbai to bring the spread of Covid-19 under control as fresh cases in the city rose to over a four-month high. Aslam Shaikh, the guardian minister for the city, told the Times of India that a partial lockdown may be imposed if the caseload is not brought under control in eight to ten days. The option was discussed at a cabinet meeting chaired by the CM, who expressed concern that active cases have gone back to the peak ranges seen in September.

Q. Which parts of Maharashtra have faced Covid-19 restrictions?

The districts that face tightened COVID-19 norms include Amravati, Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Pimpri Chinchwad, Nashik, Aurangabad, Thane, Navi Mumbai, Kalyan-Dombivli, Akola, Yavatmal, Washim and Buldhana. The Pune district administration announced restrictions till February 28. In Amravati, a week-long lockdown was imposed between February 22 and March 1. Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) also tightened the Covid-19 norms to curb sudden spurt in cases in February.

Q. Has a night curfew been imposed in parts of Punjab?

A night curfew was imposed in Punjab’s four districts — Jalandhar, SBS Nagar, Hoshiarpur and Kapurthala — from Saturday to tackle a recent surge in coronavirus cases. The night curfew will remain in place in the districts from 11 pm to 5 am. There will be relaxation for workers or staff working in factories which run on 24-hour shifts and also in cases of medical emergency. These orders will not be applicable on people returning after travelling in buses, trains or flights.

Q. What measures is the Centre taking to control the spread of Covid-19?

The central government has deputed high-level teams to Maharashtra, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and Jammu and Kashmir to support them in their fight against the recent spike in COVID-19 cases. “These teams interact with the state/UT authorities and get a firsthand understanding of the challenges and issues being faced by them so as to strengthen their ongoing activities and remove bottlenecks, if any,” the ministry said.

Q. Which states have reported zero Covid-19 deaths in the last 24 hours?

Eighteen states and UTs have not reported any COVID-19 deaths in the last 24 hours. These are Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, Goa, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Ladakh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Puducherry, Rajasthan, Sikkim and Tripura.