Coronavirus: Uttarakhand put under lockdown

Coronavirus: Uttarakhand put under lockdown

 A deserted view of Har Ki Pauri during Janta curfew in the wake of deadly coronavirus. (PTI Photo)

The Uttarakhand government imposed a lockdown in the state till March 31 on Sunday to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Inter-state bus services and public transport buses plying within the state will remain suspended during the period, Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said.

However, essential supplies such as medicines, foodgrains, vegetables will be available to people as they were kept out of the ambit of the lockdown, he added.

The shops selling foodgrains, medicines and other essentials will remain open so that people were not inconvenienced, Rawat said.

The decision to impose the lockdown was taken in view of the spontaneous response to the "Janta curfew" on Sunday and the seriousness of the coronavirus threat, he added.

Rawat appealed to people to pay heed to the government advisories issued from time to time on the advice of experts to deal with the threat and follow them precisely. 

The chief minister asked people to stay at home and not venture out unless it was necessary, saying social distancing was the most effective tool to fight the coronavirus.

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On people eking out a living on a day-to-day basis going without work, he said the state government had decided to pay Rs 1,000 to each one of the registered laborers to help them make ends meet.

The lockdown comes on a day when Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call for a countrywide "Janta curfew" evoked a spontaneous response across the state with people staying at home and roads and marketplaces wearing a deserted look.

Markets in Dehradun, Haridwar, Rishikesh, Nainital and Pithoragarh remained closed. Not a soul was to be seen at Har Ki Pauri in Haridwar, which is usually milling with crowds.

Busy areas in the heart of Dehradun like the Clock Tower, Rajpur Road and the Chakrata road were barely recognisable with the usual crowds missing.

The chief minister had dropped clear hints about harsher measures in the offing when in a thanksgiving message to the people of the state for the success of the "janata curfew" earlier in the day, he had asked them to remain prepared for even tougher times ahead.

However, he had said there will be no shortage of foodgrains or medicines. 

"We can even deliver foodgrains and medicines at people's doorsteps if we have to impose a lockdown. The state government will soon take a decision about people who eke out a living from day to day. We will not let anyone go hungry," Rawat had said.

Uttarakhand has reported three coronavirus cases so far. All of them are Indian Forest Service (IFS) probationers from the Dehradun-based Forest Research Institute (FRI), who had recently returned from a study tour to Spain.

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