Witnessing an unprecedented surge in Covid cases, a high fatality rate, and declining recovery rate, the Himachal Pradesh government on Wednesday decided to impose a ‘Corona curfew’ in the state for 10 days.
The ‘Corona curfew’ is a lockdown that will come into effect from midnight May 6 and will continue till May 16.
All offices will remain closed from May 7 and only essential services vis-à-vis health, electricity, telecom, water supply and sanitation will be allowed to operate.
The decision was taken at a state cabinet meeting that was held immediately after an all-party meeting, which Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur had called to reach a consensus on imposing tough restrictions.
The government, however, allowed the ongoing works at civil work sites, horticultural, agricultural and other project sites.
Educational institutions in the state would remain closed till May31, 2021.
“All government and private transport will ply at 50 percent of occupancy and inter-state transport would continue. Industrial establishments would work as per the guidelines issued by the state government”, said urban affairs minister Suresh Bhardwaj.
Bhardwaj said section 144 has been imposed in the state. To enter the state, one will be required to show a negative RT-PCR report or will have to undergo a 14-day quarantine.
Chief Minister Jairam Thakur said the Corona curfew was necessary because of the massive surge in Covid cases and high infection rate. The high fatality rate has further aggravated in May 2021 and has left the government with no option but to impose a lockdown to break the virus chain.
The government also decided that the annual examination of 10th standard of Himachal Pradesh Board of School Education (HPBSE) would stand cancelled.
The state board will promote all the students to class 11 as per the norms suggested by CBSE for its students for the 10th standard examination. It was also decided that class 12 examination of HPBSE and annual examination of colleges would also remain suspended till further orders.
Earlier, Congress leader Mukesh Agnihotri, during the meeting with the opposition leaders, had said that the Congress stands with the government to arrest the spread of the infection in the state, improve Covid management facilities in the hospitals to save lives.
“More than 1,650 deaths have taken place, number of active cases reached 25,000. 54 deaths were reported on Tuesday alone. It’s scary to learn about so many people falling prey to Covid and mismanagement in the hospitals. You decide whether it’s going to be lockdown, modified lockdown, partial lockdown or Corona curfew. Give it any name but try to do something to save lives”, said Agnihotri.
He asked for direct cash transfers to those people who are going to lose their means of livelihood due to curfew restrictions.
"You should come out with a framework to deal with the second wave, which is fatal, and announce a mass vaccination programme to cover the entire population including those in the age group18 to 44 by getting the vaccine doses immediately ,rather it should be a 24X 7 programme to cover all eligible persons" Agnihotri asked .
Senior congress MLA and former minister Asha Kumari had also raised the issue of unavailability of oxygen for additional beds in the new Covid care centres and makeshift hospitals. There is an acute shortage oxygen to refill cylinders and of Remdesivir in the districts.
The lone CPM MLA Rakesh Singha also asked for addition of oxygen beds in all the Covid hospitals and provision of financial relief to labourers and daily wagers.
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