Amid rumours of absolute lockdown in Madhya Pradesh, 16 areas in Bhopal’s Old City and some others were put under total lockdown for various durations on Tuesday.
The move comes amid a spike in the number of coronavirus cases in the state capital, especially in the Old City. The area has crowded markets and narrow bylanes and has been a hotbed of the infection.
Sixteen areas of Old City have been put under lockdown of five days. These areas will only be provided emergency services in this duration. All commercial establishments, offices and other places will remain closed till July 24, the administration said.
A decision to this effect was taken in a meeting between government officials and representatives of trade bodies of the areas concerned on Monday evening.
The city has been observing lockdown on Sundays and Mondays.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had announced that the worst-affected districts will now be closed for two days every week and the district crisis management committees will be empowered to select the second day of closure other than Sunday.
Meanwhile the Bagh Sevania area of Bhopal, which saw 35 new cases of Covid-19 in last 24 hours, has been locked down for a day.
The Old City areas put under lockdown are Chowk Bazaar, Ibrahimpura, Budhwara, Mangalwara, Jumerati, Marwadi Road, Lakherapura, Loha Bazaar, Sarafa and Imami Gate. Police personnel have been deployed and the areas have been barricaded as of Tuesday evening.
With several new cases of infections, the Kamla Nagar police station has also been sealed till July 24.
Newly appointed MP Health Minister Prabhuram Chaudhary protected his government saying that after assuming office, it has started efforts to rein in the infection.
“People need to understand that lockdown is not the solution as they are required to cover their faces, maintain social distancing and report suspected symptoms to physicians immediately for their and others’ safety,” said the minister.
He added that till date over 24,000 cases of infections have been reported in the state, of which over 16,000 have recovered completely and only around 7,000 remain active.
Underlining that awareness is key, the minister said that under the ‘Kill Corona’ campaign, health workers reached every doorstep in the state and have identified 1,200 patients so far.
In last few days, the number of cases has risen. Now, between 600 and 700 fresh cases are reported everyday, he added.
Former state minister Brijendra Singh Rathore accused the BJP government of utter failure in responding to the coronavirus crisis. He said that many of the Congress rebels, including the health minister, were missing when the state reported its first case. He also said that ministers, not excepting Chaudhary, have been violating social distancing norms regularly.
In the last fortnight or so, many districts including Bhopal, Indore, Morena and others have reported an increase in fresh cases.
On Tuesday, MP recorded 786 fresh cases. Bhopal and Indore had reported 142 and 120 new cases of infections on Monday which has been the average in last few days.
On Saturday, Bhopal and Indore had reported 136 and 129 fresh cases respectively.