A complete weekend lockdown began on Saturday in four districts of Uttarakhand with Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat observing that the decision was taken in view of the recent surge in cases of COVID-19.
According to an order issued late on Friday night, the districts of Dehradun, Haridwar, Nainital and Udham Singh Nagar that have reported the highest number of coronavirus cases over the past few days will observe complete lockdown till Sunday in a bid to break the cycle and contain the spread of the infection.
However, essential services including operations of industrial units in multiple shifts, agricultural and construction activities, liquor shops, hotels, movement of persons and vehicles associated with these activities, movement of goods on national and state highways, loading and unloading of cargo and people travelling to their destinations after disembarking from buses, trains and airplanes have been exempted from the ambit of the weekend lockdown.
The four districts of Uttarakhand have seen an abrupt rise in COVID cases over the past few days, reporting 655 cases since July 11.
At a review meeting on the coronavirus situation in the state held through video conference, the Chief Minister said the state government had taken the decision as the shutdowns imposed earlier in Dehradun on Saturdays and Sundays for sanitising the city had led to good results.
Imposing brief lockdowns like this could be considered in future too if the need to do so arises, he pointed out.
Health infrastructure in the state has been strengthened substantially since the outbreak of the pandemic by ramping up facilities like ICUs, ventilators, oxygen support, testing machines and labs and availability of a skilled human resource to deal with the situation, Mr Rawat said but added that timely response was the most important thing in the fight against coronavirus.
There should be no delay in the treatment of infected persons and those who may have come in contact with them, he said while emphasising that the safety of frontline healthcare personnel must be ensured.
Mr Rawat also asked officials not to allow crowding on religious occasions.
Large congregations of people should not be permitted on religious festivals, celebrations and local fares. Help can be sought from organisers of such events and religious leaders can be taken to urge people to adhere to the COVID protocol on such occasions.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)