Amid an alarming rise in coronavirus cases, the Uttar Pradesh government on Thursday tightened existing restrictions in worst-hit districts, including extension of night curfew hours and deferring the state board exams till next month.
At the meeting chaired by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, a decision was also taken to extend closure of schools till May 15.
"Due to a steady increase in COVID-19 cases, the Uttar Pradesh government has decided to postpone Class 10 and Class 12 board examinations and has said that the new dates will be decided in May after reviewing the COVID-19 situation in the state. For students of Classes 1 to 12, classroom teaching will remain suspended till May 15. No exam will be held during this period. The UP Board Class 10 and Class 12 examinations will be held after May 20 and the new time table will be decided in the first week of May," the government has said.
This is the second time the UP board exams have been deferred this year. The state government had earlier postponed the exams to May 8. The board exams were originally slated to begin on April 24.
Night curfew - already in place in state capital Lucknow, Prayagraj, Noida, Kanpur, Varanasi, Meerut and Ghaziabad - will now begin from 8 pm and end at 7 am, according to the new order. Earlier, the night curfew was from 10 pm to 5 am in these districts.
All these districts have been witnessing a worrying surge in Covid cases with over 2,000 active cases.
Lucknow now has over 31,000 active COVID-19 cases, 10 times more than what they were just two weeks ago.
In Noida, which borders national capital Delhi, the surge in cases has forced the district police to carry out announcements in public places and patrol crowded areas to raise awareness about the situation.
The new restrictions comes amid a worrying surge in cases in the state. The state government has already placed restrictions on gatherings of five or more people in religious places for effective control of the Covid pandemic for the ongoing festivals of Navratri and Ramzan.
Last evening , Uttar Pradesh reported a massive 20,510 fresh Covid cases, its highest even caseload in a 24-hour period. The state also reported 68 deaths, but anecdotal evidence from cremation grounds especially the ones in Lucknow suggest the numbers are being under reported. Active infections in the state have now crossed the 1 lakh mark, with state capital Lucknow accounting for 1/3 rd of the active cases.
Uttar Pradesh is among the states that cumulatively account for 68.16 per cent of India's total active cases, according to the Health Ministry.