Restrictions tightened in Kashmir as COVID-19 cases witness sudden spike

Restrictions tightened in Kashmir as COVID-19 cases witness sudden spike

Srinagar, Apr 27:  Restrictions on movement and assembly of people to curtail the spread of Coronavirus was further intensified even as most of the people preferred to stay indoors in view of sudden spike in fresh COVID-19 cases in Kashmir valley, where the lockdown entered 40th day on Monday.

As many as 169 people from Kashmir had tested positive for the infection last week, prompting authorities to intensify action against people violating restrictions and tightening the lockdown which remained imposed since March 19.

Officials told UNI that restrictions continued for the 40th successive day to combat the spread of COVID-19 in Kashmir valley. “Main roads in most places in the valley have been sealed while barriers were erected at other places to check unwanted movement of people,” they said, adding all roads leading to areas, which were declared as ‘Red Zones’ after several COVID-19 positive cases surfaced from there, also remained sealed.

They said only people with valid movement passes would be allowed on the roads, adding strict action would be taken against persons violating lockdown order. “Several dozen people have been arrested while over 200 vehicles have been sealed for violating the lockdown order during the couple of days in the valley, where shops and business establishments remained closed while streets were deserted due to strict restrictions imposed by authorities to curtail the spread of Coronavirus.

The streets in uptown and civil lines were deserted as shops and business establishment were closed and traffic was off the roads. Security forces were deployed in these areas, where people alleged that security personnel were not allowing them to move out of their houses. Similar situation was witnessed in downtown, where people also alleged that they were not allowed to move out of their houses even to buy groceries and vegetables.

Similar reports of lockdown were received from other parts of the valley, including Kupwara and Baramulla in north, Budagm and Ganderbal in central and Anantnag, Pulwama Kulgam in south Kashmir.

Authorities have decided not to implement the Centre’s directions on opening of shops, citing too many COVID-19 red zones. The ministry of home affairs on Friday eased curbs imposed on businesses during lockdown, saying that shops in neighbourhoods and those in residential buildings within municipal limits except those in the hotspots can resume business. However, authorities in the valley said that in view of the increasing number of COVID-19 positive cases, shops and other businesses should stay shut for a while longer.