Amid sharp rise in Covid-19 cases in Maharashtra, Amravati district in Vidarbha region has been placed under a week-long lockdown starting Monday.

Over 2,000 personnel of the Amravati city police and other security forces have been deployed to implement the lockdown.

The city border has been sealed and the main chowks are being strictly monitored by the personnel at all hours of the day, Amravati Police Commissioner Aarti Singh said on Tuesday. “I request the citizens of the city to stay at home and co-operate with us. There should be no unnecessary movement of the public otherwise there will be strict action,” Singh was quoted as saying by NDTV.

Apart from the week-long lockdown in Amravati, certain restrictions will be in place in four other districts of Amravati division — Akola, Washim, Buldhana and Yavatmal — with a view to curb the spread of the virus, an official said. Minister Yashomati Thakur, who is the district guardian minister of Amravati, on Sunday reviewed the coronavirus situation.

She said that the week-long lockdown in Amravati was essential to control the recent spike in cases. “During the lockdown, all shops, except those dealing in essential commodities, will remain shut along with the government and private educational institutions, private coaching classes, training schools. People can buy items of daily need from 9 am to 5 pm,” the minister said.

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Cinema houses, gyms, swimming pools, parks will remain shut and gatherings for entertainment, educational, cultural, religious purposes etc will not be permitted, she added. The number of beds for Covid-19 treatment will be increased from 1,400 to 1,600 in the city and strict restrictions will be enforced in nine containment zones declared by the Amravati civic body, Thakur said.

She said that industries that have been given permission earlier will continue operations, while government offices and banks will work with 15 per cent staff or a minimum of 15 persons. “Hotels and restaurants will sell only parcels while goods transport will continue unrestricted during the February 22-March 1 lockdown,” she said.

According to the official, the district has reported 7,470 COVID-19 cases and 43 deaths since February 1, including a record single-day addition of 727 cases on Saturday. The tally rose by 709 cases on Sunday, after which Divisional Commissioner Piyush Singh announced certain restrictions in Amravati, Akola, Washim, Buldhana and Yavatmal, he said.

The restrictions in other districts of the division will be for 36 hours, barring Amravati and Achalpur, Divisional Commissioner Singh said. District Collector Shailesh Naval said that educational offices, non-teaching staff, research staff and scientists will be permitted for e-information, evaluation of answer sheets and result declaration work only.

Restrictions on number of passengers in different types of vehicles have been put in place, while inter-district bus transport will operate at 50 per cent capacity, that too with passengers compulsorily maintaining social distancing and wearing masks, he said. “All concessions given under the ‘Mission Begin Again’ stand cancelled till 8 am of March 1,” Naval said.

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