One more person tests positive for coronavirus in AP; Lockdown

to be enforced till March 31 (Eds: Combines related stories, adds CM's quotes) Amaravati, Mar 22 (PTI) The number of COVID-19 cases in Andhra Pradesh rose to six on Sunday as the state government announced closure of its inter-state borders for public transport with Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy saying the state was moving towards a lockdown till March 31.

Thee state gave a tremendous response to the 14-hour 'Janta Curfew' on Sunday and the government received requests that it be extended for a couple of more days as people took the fight against the dreaded coronavirus seriously.

Vijayawada, the commercial nerve centre of the state, remained completely shut down, with even the roadside kiosks remaining closed in response to the call by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to fight the spread of the virus.

The sixth patient, who tested positive on Sunday, is the wife of the person cofirmed for the coronavirus in Visakhapatnam on March 17 upon his return from Mecca. She contracted the virus from her husband, Jagan Reddy said.

As many as 10,091 people, who returned to the state from abroad in recent days, were kept under home isolation.

Another 24 had been admitted to hospitals while 1,555 people had completed their 28-day quarantine period, he said.

The chief minister said public transport within the state would also be stopped while non-essential businesses would be closed down.

He said 12 states have already announced stopping of inter-state transport and Andhra would also follow suit.

The government would evaluate the situation on March 31 and take further course of action, the Chief Minister said at a press conference.

He said free ration, including dal, would be supplied to the poor while a monetary assistance of Rs 1,000 per family would also be handed out in view of the lockdown.

The state would bear an expenditure of Rs 1,500 crore on account of this.

We can proudly say that the situation in AP is relatively better compared to other states. But the next few days are going to be very critical, he said.

As other states were going into a lockdown, Jagan said AP too would take similar measures.

The state government would be run with skeletal staff, with employees working on a rotation basis.

The Chief Minister asked people to stay at home at least for 14 days.

Prohibitory orders would be put in place to restrain grouping of people in public but all businesses delivering essentials like groceries, milk, fuel, medicines, would run, he said.

Then the threat may subside. Then the central government may come out with further directions. People should come out of houses only for their essential needs and even then maintain 2-meter social distancing,' he added.

Jagan said a 100-bed isolationquarantine facility would be created in each of the 13 districts while 200-bed high-end treatment facility would also be provided in each district headquarters hospital. PTI DBV VS VS