Lockdown or Unlock 2.0? States make their choice as Covid tide continues to rise

As coronavirus cases in India are showing record spikes with each passing day and cases in most states are also demonstrating a rising trend, administrations are faced with the dilemma of either opening up activities further with the advent of second phase of Unlock beginning July 1 or of resorting to varying degrees of lockdown in an attempt to arrest the tide of cases.

Some states like West Bengal and Jharkhand have decided to extend the lockdown till July 31, while others like Tamil Nadu have decided to selectively lockdown a few worst-affected districts.

We bring you a sense of the mood in some states where a decision on the future course of action is being taken:

Jharkhand- The state government has extended lockdown till July 31. However, a detailed order explaining what it entails is not available yet and the degrees of restrictions that will be placed in the state with 2,262 positive cases as on Thursday will be known soon.

Assam – The Assam government has announced a 12-hour night curfew across the state from Friday and a 14-day complete lockdown in Kamrup (Metro) district, which also includes the busiest city of Guwahati, from June 28 midnight.

West Bengal- Chief minister Mamata Banerjee had extended the lockdown in the state till July 31 in an announcement made a couple of days ago. On Friday, she asked the Centre to stop international repatriation flights and also domestic flights to Kolkata from states with a high Covid-19 infection rate till July 31. In another decision, she decided to relax the night curfew in the state by an hour by revising the curfew timings to between 10 pm and 5 am. She has also indicated resumption of metro services from July 1 in Kolkata.

Delhi- Schools in Delhi will remain closed till July 31 in view of the Covid-19 situation, while online classes and activities shall continue. However, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had earlier ruled out return to the lockdown mode in the view of the rising cases in the city.

Telangana – The sharp spike in the number of positive cases for Covid-19 in Hyderabad in the last few days has forced several shops, business establishments and general markets to go for a voluntary lockdown for a period ranging between seven and 10 days. On Thursday night, Telangana reported 920 new positive cases including 737 reported in Hyderabad alone. The total tally of Covid cases in the state reached 11,364.

Tamil Nadu- The districts of Chennai, Madurai and parts of Chengelpet, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur are under lockdown since last Friday till June 30 with permission for most activities except essential services withdrawn. Chief minister Palaniswami, however, has left the decision on the future course—which also includes the possibility of extending the lockdown—to recommendations of an expert panel and the Central government, he told reporters on Friday. Tamil Nadu on Friday reported the highest single day spike with 3,645 new Covid 19 cases taking the state’s total to 74,622 cases including 46 deaths reported over the last 24 hours.

Karnataka- Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa has ruled out a return to the lockdown regime in the state and has instead laid emphasis on increased surveillance and implementation of current norms while promoting commercial activity in the state. He said on Friday that his government wanted to carry on the developmental activities and Covid-19 management hand-in-hand. He said even opposition members were in agreement that there should be no lockdown of activities in the state. He said the government will rather seal the places with a high number of cases.

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