Bihar will go into a complete lockdown from Thursday as coronavirus cases in the highly populated state saw an "alarming surge" in the last three weeks. Detailed guidelines have been released by the state government setting down strict rules of what can remain open and what cannot. The 15-day lockdown in the state from July 16 to July 31 was confirmed by Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi saying the Nitish Kumar government had ordered that "all city municipalities, district headquarters, block headquarters will stay under lockdown".
Bihar's lockdown announcement comes hours before Karnataka capital Bengaluru enters a week-long lockdown.
- Shops selling groceries, vegetables, milk and dairy products, and meat will be open.
- Home delivery of products will be allowed and encouraged to minimise the movement of people outside.
- Air and rail transport services will remain functional. Taxis, auto-rickshaws and private vehicles will also be allowed, but only for permitted activities.
- Banks, insurance offices, and ATMs will be open.
- Petrol pumps. LPG petroleum and gas retail and storage outlets will remain open.
- Defence, CAPF, treasury offices and disaster management will remain open.
- Public utilities (including petroleum, CNG, LPG, PNG), power generation and transmission units, post offices will be open.
- Transportation of goods will be allowed including loading and unloading at the warehouses.
- All government vehicles and private vehicles carrying government staff will be allowed to commute with their office ID cards.
- All essential service providers will be allowed to commute only from home to workplace.
- All construction and agricultural work will be allowed. Construction and agriculture work related shops will also be allowed to remain open.
- Industries in urban areas can be functional with strict implementation of social distancing and safety rules.
- State and central government offices, apart from those dealing with essential services, will remain closed.
- Schools, colleges and other educational institutions to remain shut.
- Restaurants and hotels to be shut for dine-in. However, takeaway and home delivery is allowed.
- Religious places will not be open to public for worship.
- All sports and cultural complexes will remain closed.
- Movie theatres and malls will be shut.
- Swimming pools and gymnasiums will continue to remain shut.
All of these rules will not apply to containment zones in Bihar, which will continue under strict central government guidelines that see only essential services allowed.
On Tuesday Bihar reported 1,432 new COVID-19 cases - its biggest single-day spike. This was the fourth consecutive day with over 1,000 fresh infections; on Sunday 1,266 new cases were recorded. Bihar now has nearly 20,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, of which over 5,000 are active and 160 are deaths linked to the virus.