Speaking to The Indian Express, chief secretary RK Tiwari said, “We have decided to seal hotspots in 15 districts of the state. Rest of the places would continue with the usual lockdown exercise.”
The Uttar Pradesh government on Wednesday decided to seal coronavirus “hotspots” in 15 districts until April 15 as part of a “cluster containment” exercise, where only medical services and home delivery would be allowed. While entire districts will not face such stringent lockdown measures, movement of people will be completely curbed in these hotspots, and no entry of outsiders will be allowed.
These hotspots are in districts where more than six cases have been reported, including Agra, Lucknow, Ghaziabad, Gautam Budh Nagar (which includes Noida and Greater Noida), Kanpur Nagar, Varanasi, Sitapur, Shamli, Meerut, Bulandshahr, Saharanpur, Bareilly, Firozabad, Basti and Maharajganj.
Speaking to The Indian Express, chief secretary RK Tiwari said, “We have decided to seal hotspots in 15 districts of the state. The rest of the places would continue with the usual lockdown exercise.”
Tiwari added: “Hotspots are places from where a cluster of coronavirus cases have been reported. These places would be sealed and only medical services and home delivery would be allowed.”
Additional Chief Secretary Awanish Awasthi said these hotspots would be sealed until the morning of April 15. The most hotspots are in Agra (22), followed by Ghaziabad (13), Gautam Budh Nagar (12), and Lucknow (12).
“In these hotspots, there would be no relaxation but there is no need to panic as medical services and civil supplies would be delivered to the doorstep. Other areas would remain as they were during the lockdown,” said Awasthi. He said that in sealed areas, not just grocery stores, but even banks would be closed until April 15.
Despite the administration urging people not to panic, long queues had formed outside grocery stores in areas such as Noida, Greater Noida, and Ghaziabad as people attempted to stock up on essential supplies.
Sharing details of the sealing exercise, Director General of Police Hitesh Chandra Awasthi said, “These are clusters where there is a history of positive cases and a potential of spread. After the sealing exercise, first an extensive sanitisation drive would be conducted through fire services in these areas.
“While all the civilian passes would be cancelled for these sealed regions, civil supplies would be given at the doorstep. All the commuting in these areas would be stopped like it is done during a normal curfew. There would be barricading and these areas would be turned into zero traffic zones,” he said.
Additional Chief Secretary Awasthi said emergency vehicles and, if needed, drones would be used to monitor the areas, and no outsiders would be allowed in.
He said the government has also made wearing of masks compulsory for everyone, and action would be taken against those who step out without their face covered.
So far, 343 cases have been reported in the state, which includes 187 related to last month’s Tablighi Jamaat gathering in Delhi’s Nizamuddin West.