The Allahabad High Court issued a list of directions on Monday, 19 April, after taking stock of the dire COVID-19 situation in Uttar Pradesh. A near lockdown state has been imposed in the five cities of Prayagraj, Lucknow, Varanasi, Kanpur Nagar, and Gorakhpur till 26 April.
However, ACS-Information Navneet Sehgal said that the UP government will not be going to impose a complete lockdown in the cities, but will impose strict restrictions. The UP government is submitting its reply before the HC on its observations.
A bench of Justices Ajit Kumar and Siddhartha Varma had, on Monday, reprimanded the government for being caught unaware and said, “It is a shame that while the government knew of the magnitude of the second wave it never planned things in advance.”
It further added in the court order, “If people die of pandemic in a large number due to paucity of sufficient medical aid it would be the governments to blame which failed to counter the pandemic even after one long year of experience and learning. One would only laugh at us that we have enough to spend on elections and very little to spend on public health.”
The high court also noted that the chief minister was himself in isolation and only VIPs were able to get treatment or hospital beds on priority.
Some of the pertinent instructions by the court were as follows:
All public movement on roads would remain restricted completely subject to the directions given. Movement would be only allowed in case of medical help and emergencies.
All shopping complexes, malls, hotels, restaurants, and even the small eating points to remain closed till 26 April.
All religious activities in public of any kind to remain suspended. All religious establishments directed to remain closed till 26 April.
All grocery shops and other commercial shops, with more than three workers to remain closed. Medical shops would remain open, however.
All institutions like educational institutions and other institutions relating to other disciplines and activities be it government, semi-government, or private to be closed including for teachers, instructors and other staff.
No social functions and gatherings including marriage functions to be permitted till 26 April. However, in case of already fixed marriages, a necessary further permission would have had to be taken from the District Magistrate of the concerned district, and even in those cases, gatherings to be limited to 25 persons.
Containment zones to be notified every day in two leading Hindi and English newspapers having wide circulation in the districts of Prayagraj, Lucknow, Varanasi, Kanpur Nagar/Dehat, and Gorakhpur.
The HC urged the government to consider the need for a total lockdown in Uttar Pradesh and stressed on a robust implementation of the current vaccination drive.
The court also noted that a two-week lockdown will certainly help break the infection chain and give health workers some much needed respite.
The state reported over 30,000 new cases on Monday, taking its active caseload to over 1.91 lakh.
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