Leh: The Union Territory of Ladakh has been placed on lockdown till March 31 to check the spread of coronavirus even as the reports of 16 fresh samples of suspected cases have tested negative, a senior government official said on Monday.
The lockdown came into effect across Ladakh at 8 pm on Sunday and will remain in force till 6 pm on March 31, officials said.
Ladakh has so far recorded a total of 13 positive coronavirus cases.
The District Development Commissioners of both Leh and Kargil districts have imposed Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), the Disaster Management Act and the Epidemic Diseases Act under which only essential services will be available to the people till March 31, Commissioner Secretary (Health) Rigzin Samphel told reporters here.
Seeking cooperation of the people, he said, "We will ensure that they do not face any problem during the shutdown period".
He said the reports of all 16 suspected cases -- 12 hailing from Kargil and four from Leh -- were received from Delhi on Saturday and were negative.
"The test report of a person, having a recent travel history to the United States and who reached Leh on Saturday in a very bad condition with suspected symptoms of COVID-19, is likely to reach by this (Monday) evening," he said.
Samphel said all the co-passengers of the person have been contacted and asked to remain under home-quarantine for 14 days and to ensure no physical contact with family members and others.
He said the Leh airport will operate as usual and there is no change in the schedule of flights arriving from Delhi or Jammu.
The deputy commissioners of Leh and Kargil said in the lockdown order that there would be a "complete ban on assembly of three or more persons for any reason, whatsoever, and complete shutdown of all shops and business establishments, educational institutions, markets and Anganwadi centres".
However, the essential services and supply chains to maintain the essential services were exempted from the purview of the shutdown, the officials said.
They said there would be complete restrictions on the movement of interdistrict and intra-district commercial transport and other modes of public transport, except for authorized transport plying for essential purposes.
They said the residents were asked to stay at home and come out only to procure essential commodities for consumption (one person per vehicle) in the immediate vicinity of their homes, while strictly following the norms of social distancing.
"Any violation of the order will invite punitive action under Section 188 of the IPC and other relevant sections of Epidemic Diseases Act and the Disaster Management Act," the officials said.