Shimla: Himachal Pradesh has been placed under lockdown indefinitely to check the spread of coronavirus, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur announced in the Assembly on Monday.
The hill state has become the 14th state to announce a total lockdown to curtail the spread of the virus, but is only the second to make it indefinite. Only Nagaland had on Sunday announced an indefinite lockdown as most states took the step till March 31.
Other states that have announced lockdowns are Maharashtra, Kerala, Haryana, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Punjab, Delhi, Nagaland, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand and Rajasthan. This is in addition to the 80 districts locked down by the central government.
Chief minister Thakur urged people not to panic and said the government is ready to meet any eventuality, adding that the lockdown will remain in force till further orders. Essential services will, however, continue as usual.
The announcement was made before the Assembly was adjourned sine die.
The state government has taken incremental steps before announcing a total lockdown. It had on Sunday placed Kangra district, where two confirmed cases of coronavirus had been reported, on lock down and had earlier on March 31 sealed its borders and closed the state to tourists.
A 32-year-old man from Harchakkian tehsil and a 64-year-old woman from Dohabe village in Shahpur subdivision have tested positive for coronavirus in the state so far.
Additional chief secretary (health)-cum-nodal officer for Covid-19, R D Dhiman said the 12 samples tested on Sunday were reported negative. Till Saturday, 1,030 cases were under surveillance in Himachal Pradesh. Of these, 387 have completed 28 days and are safe from the disease.
Dhiman said isolation wards have been established in Indira Gandhi Medical College, Shimla, Government Medical College, Tanda and Government Medical College, Ner Chowk, Mandi, to teat coronavirus cases.