In wake of a resurgence in coronavirus cases, the Madhya Pradesh government on Tuesday imposed night curfew in Bhopal and Indore and ordered closure of markets at 10pm in eight other districts, including Jabalpur, Gwalior, Ujjain, Ratlam, Chhindwada, Burhanpur, Betul and Khargone. The order will come into effect from Wednesday. Those coming from Maharashtra will be subjected to weeklong isolation in the eight districts.
The decision was taken at a review meeting chaired by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan here on Tuesday. It was also decided at the meeting that measures would be taken to ensure strict following of rules and violation of pandemic-related guidelines like wearing of masks would lead to temporary jail sentences.
Amid concerns over a second wave of the virus, Bhopal and Indore are emerging as COVID-19 hotspots with the total number of daily cases heading towards 200 mark in the state capital. Indore has already breached the 250-mark with the tally touching 1,000 in the last four days.
On Tuesday, Bhopal reported 196 and Indore 264 fresh infections. On Monday, the two cities had reported 199 and 259 cases, respectively.
Forty-four of the 52 districts in Madhya Pradesh have reported fresh cases. The daily count also breached the 800-mark for the first time this year. At present, Bhopal has over 1,000 and Indore over 1,800 active cases.
The district administrations are undertaking measures to combat the surge. All fliers from Mumbai are being tested for COVID-19 at the airport. In Ujjain, those the mask rule are being sent to jails temporarily.
The authorities in Khargone have directed officers to ban entry of Maharashtra residents to the upcoming Bhagoriya festival.
Meanwhile, the vaccination drive continued unhindered in the state. Till Monday, over 17 lakh have received shots with about 1.90 lakh being inoculated during the day. However senior citizens were seen waiting for several hours at vaccination centres for their turn.
The Opposition Congress said the state government should reopen free of cost treatment centres in the wake of the resurgence. Party spokesperson Ajay Singh Yadav said the administration should also boost the vaccination drive as at the present pace, it would take 15-20 years to cover the entire eligible population in the state.