Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Saturday said four districts including Gurgaon, which have reported the maximum number of COVID-19 cases, will be declared “red zones”, meaning stricter restrictions will placed in the areas to check the spread of the coronavirus.
The four districts -Gurgaon, Faridabad, Nuh and Palwal- account for more than 100 cases out of the over 160 cases reported in the state. Many areas in these districts have already been declared containment zones.
Two more people have tested positive for coronavirus in Faridabad Sunday, while 2 others have recovered, said officials from the district administration. “The two people who have tested positive are a resident of the city who had attended the Tablighi Jamaat gathering in Delhi, and the son of another person who had attended the same gathering, and tested positive earlier. The man’s sample had been taken after his father tested positive. The district now has 31 cases of coronavirus, of which 26 are active,” said a spokesperson of the district administration. The two people who have recovered and been discharged, meanwhile, are a 54-year-old woman who is the wife of an employee at a Noida firm, where several people had tested COVID-19 positive last month. Her husband and son had also tested positive. While her son was discharged with her Sunday, her husband had already recovered earlier this week.
After interacting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a video conference, Khattar said in a televised address this evening that “the indications” from the meeting were that the lockdown is set to increased by two weeks.
It emerged during the meeting of chief ministers that areas should be categorised depending on the severity of the spread, he said. Khattar, who had urged people to wear a mask whenever they step out of their home, said now it is a must and they should make it a habit “just like we wear clothes.”
About Haryana, he said, the state will be divided into three categories – the worst affected will be declared a red zone. Gurgaon, Faridabad, Nuh and Palwal are in that category.
The remaining 18 districts will be divided into two categories – “vulnerable” areas in orange category, where coronavirus cases are fewer than worst-affected areas.
The third category will be of areas with minimum impact of coronavirus, he said. The lockdown, however, will continue in all three categories. The restrictions could be milder in areas with minimally affected by the virus for economic activities, he said. Khattar said all chief ministers gave their suggestions to the prime minister and most of them said the nationwide lockdown should be continued beyond April 14.
“A formal announcement will be made by the prime minister but all of us should be prepared,” he said. Khattar said the chief ministers said increasing the lockdown can help contain the spread of the virus and the prime minister stressed the focus now is on “jaan bhi, jahan bhi”.
He said it was pointed out during the meeting that the economic activities have come to a halt and to keep these suspended for a long time is difficult for any nation or state. If the lockdown is extended, the prime minister has indicated that some arrangements will be made so that small enterprises can restart. He said the chief ministers also raised the issues related to the farmers.
Social distancing plan committees will be formed, which will work at the village, block,district, city level and will decide which industry can be allowed to run. Movement of raw material and finished goods will be allowed, he said.
To ensure there is no crowding when people go out to buy essentials items like vegetables, it has been decided to increase the duration for which such stores can open.
He said banks have been asked to work out an arrangement so that customers can request a “token” over phone to reduce crowding at bank branches. To provide healthcare facilities at doorsteps including medicines, the number of mobile dispensaries will be increased from 250 to 500, he said.