Streets, markets empty as MP weekend lockdown kicks in

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Bhopal, Apr 10 (PTI) Streets and markets in most cities of Madhya Pradesh wore a deserted look on Saturday, uncharacteristic for the weekend, as a 60-hour lockdown started showing effect.

The lockdown came into force at 6 pm on Friday.

Among these places, Ratlam, Betul, Katni, Khargone and Chhindwara districts, all bordering Maharashtra, have been seeing record spikes in infections over the past few days.

Ratlam and Betul will be under lockdown for nine days, while it will be from Friday till the morning of April 16 in Chhindwara, close to Nagpur, the biggest city in Maharashtra's Vidarbha region.

The lockdown will be in force for a period of seven days, which started on Friday night, in Khargone and Katni, officials said.

However, thanks to an Assembly bypoll scheduled on Apil 17, Damoh remained 'open' for campaigning, officials pointed out.

An order on the lockdown issued by Additional Chief Secretary Rajesh Rajora has said essential services like ferrying of goods from other states will continue, chemist and ration stores, hospitals, petrol pumps, banks, ATMs, milk and vegetable shops will remain open, and there won't be any let up in vaccination and other emergency works either.

The urban areas of the state are also under night curfew, which will be in force till April 30.

In the last three days, Madhya Pradesh reported over 4,000 cases daily, with Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Saturday saying the number of active COVID-19 cases in the state might reach one lakh by the end of this month given the spike in infections.

In a worrying sign, the state's positivity rate jumped from 1.1 per cent in January-end to 13 per cent now. PTI LAL BNM NSK NSK