Chhattisgarh records highest-ever COVID spike with 5,818 new cases

CHANDIGARH: The Chandigarh administration announced a weekend lockdown in the union territory from 10 pm on Friday to 5 am on Monday, in view of a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Announcing the fresh restriction in an official statement here, the administration urged residents to stay indoors.

Essential activities and services and home delivery of food are exempted from the purview of the lockdown, it said.

The decision was taken at a high-level meeting here chaired by Punjab Governor V P Singh Badnore, who is also the Administrator of the union territory.

The administration also announced other restrictions, which will be in place till April 30.

While all gymnasiums and spas in the union territory will remain closed, cinema halls can run with 50 per cent capacity, it said.

All government offices will function with 50 per cent staff strength, and general public will be allowed to meet officers only with prior appointment, the statement said.

The administration also banned on all social, cultural, political and religious events The existing limit on gatherings in permitted functions will be reduced to 100 for outdoor events and 50 for indoor ones, it said.

Buses will run but with 50 per cent capacity only, the administration said.

Museums, libraries, coaching institutions etc, will remain closed, it said, adding online coaching will continue.

Meanwhile, the administration clarified that candidates venturing out to sit in examinations and those deputed in exam duties will be allowed to travel on production of admit or identity cards.

Visitors will be screened at the airport, railway station, ISBT etc, it said.

Home delivery of food will, however, be allowed, the statement said.

All vaccination and testing centres, dispensaries and other medical facilities will remain open during the lockdown and people going there will not be stopped.

Inter-state travellers will be allowed on all days, including the lockdown period, the administration said.

The high-level meeting was attended by Manoj Parida, Adviser to the Administrator, and Mandip Singh Brar, Deputy Commissioner, Chandigarh, and Director, PGIMER, among others.

Badnore expressed serious concerns about the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the city and also the high fatality.

The union territory reported 412 cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, taking the infection count to 32,397.

Badnore directed all the three government medical institutes here to ramp up their facilities so as to accommodate the increasing number of coronavirus patients.

All COVID-19-related deaths must be specifically audited, he said, adding that the sector 48 hospital should be made fully operational, so that it can function as a dedicated COVID-19 hospital, he directed.

Badnore also directed all hospitals to store enough oxygen and vaccines.

All COVID-19 patients currently under home-quarantine must be regularly contacted and provided necessary assistance, he said.

The UT administrator said all shops must get their staff tested and display signboards stating that their premises are coronavirus-free.

Action will be taken against shoppers going to the markets without masks and also against shopkeepers attending them, he said.

Badnore also said that mobile teams should be sent to temples, gurdwaras, mosques and other crowded places during festivals so that visitors can be screened and symptomatic cases tested.