Tackling obstacles to free movement and commercial activity could be facilitated, particularly in areas where there are no cases of the coronavirus (Covid-19), according to officials from several States, who give some indications of how a return to normal activity after the age of 15 could be achieved. April, when the national blockade should end, might work.
In India, more than 4,000 cases of Covid-19 have been reported and the number of cases has doubled in 4.1 days, federal officials said Sunday, adding that they have discussed with the states an containment strategy based on identifying and sealing hot spots.
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Today, we held a videoconference with all district chiefs to inform them about our deterrence strategy, which targets districts that report a large number of cases, such as Bhilwara, Agra and Gautam Budh Nagar. Officials from these areas also shared their views, said Lav Agarwal, deputy secretary of the Union’s health ministry, at a daily meeting in New Delhi.
This strategy could be decisive in achieving the progress made over the last 25 years. Hopefully this will lift the three-week blockade that has been in place since 1 March, without any risk of relapse of the disease. By Sunday, cases had been reported in 274 of the country’s 718 districts. Twenty-one out of 230 districts in nine states are considered hot spots.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Maudie requested a conference call with prime ministers across the country to exchange ideas on how to gradually ease restrictions.
Officials from three states – Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Haryan – have called for an initial relaxation of restrictions in areas currently free of infection. Residents of Kovidas districts will be banned from entering these areas, said a senior official involved in the implementation of the containment plan in Rajasthan.
This could be the first phase of attenuation, the official said, adding that the second phase would cover areas with relatively few patients. The final attenuation phase will therefore include high containment areas. About half of the 33 districts in Rajasthan have no cases.
Non-compulsory public meetings, e.g. for religious and political reasons, and the reopening of public places such as shopping centres, cinemas and educational establishments could take some time, the official added.
A high-ranking Haryana government official, who asked not to be appointed, said that the state preferred a similar strategy, but that most counties – 14 out of 22 – may need longer isolation because they have several cases. Everything will depend on how these areas recover in the next 10 days, said the man, pointing to large NKR cities such as Gurugram, Faridabad and Palval, which account for 57 out of 76 cases, as areas where borders can remain.
In Maharashtra, the authorities said that the blockade in most urban areas was likely to continue for another few weeks. I see the blockade is still in place after the 14th. April will continue in urban areas, Health Minister Rajesh Tope said, adding that a significant number of infections have been reported in these areas.
Maharashtra has the highest number of infections in the country, at least 700, and in recent days there has been growing concern about the spread of the disease in densely populated areas, such as Dharavi District in the state capital Mumbai.
In Uttar Pradesh, 47 out of 75 districts are not infected with the Covid 19 virus. The good news is that there are no signs of community expansion at BP, although many cases are linked to Tabligh Jamaat, said a key government official overseeing the containment efforts. In all districts where positive cases have been registered, three detention centres should be set up, the official added.
State agriculture and related industries, such as grain mills and the sugar industry, as well as some industries far from the cities, are likely to be allowed to resume their activities.
Major NKR cities such as Neuida and Gaziabad, as well as the state capital, Lucknow, are unlikely to return to normal functioning, officials said.
Punjab, the one on the 21st. Although the first state to impose a curfew on March 15 will continue to work in most areas, it will impose a curfew in order to continue the harvest from March 15. April. Rabbine crops are bought from the villages, and some industrial activities in Jalandar and Ludhiana may be allowed by chess with the rules of social distance in force. The last call will be on 12 or 13 April, said Suresh Kumar, Punjab’s chief minister’s chief secretary.
The state is working to open up all agricultural markets so that farmers can sell their produce; it wants offices and businesses to be run on an ongoing basis; and it wants some interstate transport services to be restored, said Sajala Ramakrishna Reddi, Prime Minister’s advisor on state affairs.
Reddy said the state should submit its proposals by March 8th. April to the Prime Minister.
Kerala has allowed leaf picking and other activities on the vast tea plantations of Idukka and Vayad, but with strict restrictions. We’ve given strict instructions to maintain social distance when they’re working. It is controlled by the district administration and district labour inspectors, said Chief Minister Pinaray Vijayan. This decision was taken after some institutions threatened to close down their units definitively.
(Pankai Jaiswal in Lucknow, Surendra Gangan in Mumbai, Sachin Saini in Jaipur, Ranjan in Bhopal and Aveniet Sharma and Hitender Rao in Chandigar have contributed to this story).