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To combat mounting infections, more states opt for lockdown extensions
Apart from Delhi, lockdown was extended in Haryana, Rajasthan and Puducherry
On Sunday, while extending the coronavirus lockdowns in the national capital, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal sounded both a warning bell and a conciliatory note. He said that, while the lockdown was being extended for a week, phased unlocking would begin from May 31 if COVID-19 count decreased. There was a case for careful optimism. The positivity rate had come down to 2.5 per cent in Delhi, with 1,600 new COVID-19 cases being reported in the last 24 hours.
He said at the height of the ongoing second surge in April, cases had crossed 28,000 mark and positivity rate soared over 36 per cent. "But now the second wave is seen to be weakening and we appear to be overcoming it. It has, however, yet not ended, and the war is still on and more than 1,000 cases are still being reported," he said. Delhi people, he said, worked hard like a family and displayed immense discipline to fight the second wave despite many challenges.
Apart from Delhi, lockdown was extended in Haryana, Rajasthan and Puducherry, with many states already imposing COVID-induced restrictions till May-end to rein in the spread of infection and the mounting deaths which crossed the three lakh mark.
The Rajasthan government on Sunday extended the coronavirus lockdown by 15 days till June 8. The state may allow some relaxations in commercial activities from June 1 in districts where the COVID-19 situation will improve significantly, according to a government release. The home department on Sunday issued an order extending the lockdown from 5 am on May 24 to 5 am on June 8. People going for vaccination will be allowed to move within their respective urban local body or panchayat samiti during the lockdown period. In a meeting on Saturday, the council of ministers and experts had suggested extending the lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The state government also increased the fine for not wearing a face mask at public places or workplace from Rs 500 to Rs 1,000. Wedding ceremonies will not be allowed in the state till June 30, according to the release.
The Haryana government on Sunday extended the coronavirus-induced lockdown by another week, while giving some relaxations to standalone shops in the state. State Chief Secretary Vijai Vardhan, in an order, said the lockdown, which was earlier imposed till May 24, has been extended till May 31. The Haryana government has termed the lockdown as 'Mahamari Alert/Surkshit Haryana (Epidemic Alert/Safe Haryana)'. According to the order, standalone shops are allowed to open during the day. The other shops are allowed to open from 7am to 12pm on an odd-even basis. "The shops with odd numbers will open on odd dates and shops with even numbers on even dates," the order said. However, malls are not allowed to open.
The Puducherry government on Sunday announced extension of the ongoing lockdown till May 31 as COVID-19 cases continue to soar in the Union territory. The two-week long lockdown clamped on May 10 is to come to an end on May 24 midnight. Lt Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan said the lockdown is extended till month end, beyond midnight of May 24. All restrictions imposed from May 10 would continue and only essential services such as vegetables would be available till noon every day, an official release said. Milk and essential services would continue to be available and the government is keen that livelihood sources should not suffer any setback.