PUNE/NAGPUR: A Covid-19 test positivity rate inching towards 10% in Pune district and a surge in cases in Amravati division made authorities act swiftly on Sunday to reimpose measures like school and college closure, limitations on movement at night and restrictions on events like weddings for the remainder of the month.
While in Amravati division the terms night curfew and lockdown were used by authorities to describe the strict, September-like curbs that in some cities there shut down almost everything except essential services, Pune authorities called the steps in the district as being “precautionary” and said there was no cause for alarm.
Restrictions were also upped in Nagpur district, where over 500 cases were reported for the sixth consecutive day. In Nagpur city, guardian minister Nitin Raut is likely to announce a night curfew from 11pm to 6am and closure of commercial markets for one day in a week on Monday. A decision on closing schools would be taken on Monday or Tuesday.
Pune divisional commissioner Saurabh Rao said all schools, colleges and private coaching centres would remain closed in Pune district till February 28 and announced that only “limited movement” would be allowed on streets from 11pm to 6am from Monday. He said there were no curbs on inter-district travel.
On the night-time curbs, Rao said people were expected to avoid non-essential travel. “We are consciously not using the word ‘night curfew’ as there will not be any restriction on essential services such as newspaper deliveries, milk and vegetable supply and travel to hospitals for medical emergencies,” Rao said following a review meeting that was attended by Dy CM Ajit Pawar, who is also Pune guardian minister, MPs, MLAs from the district, the district collector, municipal and police commissioners of Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad and other officials.
Bars and restaurants would have to close at 11pm. No wedding ceremony, political or social event would be allowed without a police NOC. Attendance at these events is limited to 200 people.
Amravati guardian minister Yashomati Thakur held a meeting with the divisional commissioner and district collector and declared the lockdown in Amravati and Achalpur cities and very restricted business elsewhere in the district.
Later, Akola district collector Jitendra Papalkar came out with lockdown orders for Akola city, Murtijapur and Akot.
In these cities in Amravati division, shops and other public places will remain shut. No gatherings will be permitted.
The other four districts in Amravati division will have curbs like the ones during the mid-September Covid-19 peak. Divisional commissioner Piyush Singh issued a circular ordering all shops and establishments to remain open only from 9 am to 5 pm, restricting restaurants to accepting parcel orders, and capping wedding parties to 25 persons, including the bride and groom.
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