With a spike in COVID-19 cases in recent days, this temple town of Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh was brought under complete lockdown from Monday till August 5 to check its spread, Chittoor District admininstration said.
However, the lockdown would not affect pilgrims proceeding to the famous hill shrine of Lord Venkateswara at nearby Tirumala, it said.
The decision to enforce the lockdown, after curbs were eased from June 1 when Unlock-1 came into being, was taken at a special meeting held by District Collector Narayana Bharath Gupta in which Superintendent of Police Avula Ramesh Reddy, Municipal Commissioner PS Girisha and other officials took part.
Shops selling vegetables and groceries will be permitted to open between 6 AM and 10 AM daily while all commercial establishments would remain closed during the lockdown, Gupta told reporters, adding public would be allowed to shop for domestic needs only during the four-hour window.
Medical and milk shops can function throughout the day while essentials services would be exempted from the purview of lockdown.
Gupta told mediapersons here that of the total 5,400 COVID-19 cases in Chittoor district, Tirupati corporation areas alone has about 1,700 cases.
The surge in the virus cases here has prompted the administration to keep it under complete lockdown until August 5, Gupta said. The pilgrims' vehicles proceeding to Tirumala hills would function as usual, he added.
Already, most pilgrims coming in their vehicles had been taking the bypass route, skipping Tirupati.