UP govt puts 16 districts under lockdown till Wednesday

Lucknow, Mar 22 (PTI) Sixteen districts in Uttar Pradesh, including Lucknow, will be locked down till Wednesday amid a spurt in coronavirus cases.

The districts where the lockdown has been enforced in the first phase are Lucknow, Agra, Gautam Buddha Nagar, Ghaziabad, Varanasi, Allahabad, Kanpur, Aligarh, Moradabad, Lakhimpur Kheiri, Bareilly, Azamgarh, Meerut, Gorakhpur, Saharanpur and Pilibhit.

The lockdown in Pilibhit was announced late Sunday night.

'Now 16 districts including Pilibhit are under lockdown,' Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Awasthi said in a statement.

Earlier in the day, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath announced that 15 districts in the state will be under lockdown in the first phase.

'Fifteen districts in the state will be locked down in the first phase from Monday,' Adityanath told reporters in Gorakhpur.

The lockdown will continue till Wednesday, he said. 'I appeal to all the citizens that they should stay indoors and not venture out of their homes.' 'Unnecessary crowding and gathering at public places should be avoided. We are standing at a juncture where even a slight laxity can prove to be harmful,' the chief minister said.

Adityanath said officials of the police and district administration would patrol these districts.

' We will review the situation tomorrow. If any family needs anything in emergency, 112 service of the state police will be available,' he said.

'The 15 districts where lockdown has been enforced are those where coronavirus cases have been found. These districts will be thoroughly sanitised. Cleanliness drives are already going on for the last three days,' the chief minister had earlier said.

'People from Mumbai, Surat and other places arrived in large numbers at Jaunpur, Mirzapur, Mau, Kushinagar, Jhansi, Ghazipur, Ayodhya, Basti, Barabanki, Deoria, Ballia, Santkabirnagar and Gonda district yesterday and today. My appeal to them is to stay at home. The administration is making the list of such persons, and making provisions to keep them separately,' he said.

On the slightest suspicion, they would be immediately sent to isolation wards and given free treatment, he said.

He asked residents of Nepal bordering districts like Maharajganj, Siddharthanagar, Shrawasti, Balrampur, Bahraich and Pilibhit to remain alert. 'If there are any health issues, people can call on 102 and 108 helpline numbers,' the chief minister said.

The Uttar Pradesh State Roadways Transport Corporation will remain completely closed from March 23 to 25.

'No bus from Uttar Pradesh will go to Nepal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan or any other state,' he said.

The chief minister said to spread awareness, the state government has put huge hoardings, posters etc. outside every gram panchayat, school, hospitals and religious places.

'We have already made arrangements for labourers, daily wagers, street vendors and others,' he said. PTI NAV/ABN -- DPB DPB