Think of week-end lockdown, longer curfew: HC

The Telangana High Court on Wednesday asked the State government to explore imposition of stronger restrictive measures like extending hours of night curfew or week-end lockdown to flatten the COVID-19 curve.

Hearing a batch of PIL pleas on coronavirus-related issues, the HC said the government should take stock of the situation well before Saturday as extended night curfew would end by then and take a call on initiating further stringent measures to check spread of COVID-19. A bench of Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy instructed the government to issue a fresh Government Order within 24 hours restricting persons attending marriages and funerals. Numbers of persons attending a marriage and a funeral should not exceed 50 and 20 respectively, the bench said.

The bench expressed concern over the GO issued on November 16 last year permitting congregations of 200 persons as part of COVID-19 norms. District Collectors, Commissioners of Police and heads of municipal bodies were authorised to permit such gatherings. Permitting such large number of people in the backdrop of coronavirus spreading like wildfire was not appropriate, the bench said.

The bench instructed the Additional Solicitor General of India to ensure that the Central government supplied 600 metric tonnes of oxygen to Telangana. So far only 300 metric tonnes of oxygen was supplied to the State while the demand was going up with each passing day. The Central government should also supply sufficient stocks of drugs like Remdesivir. Against the requirement of 43,000 vials of the drug, only 25,000 vials were supplied to the State so far.

Appreciating the State police for cracking down on hoarders of Remdesivir vials and oxygen cylinders, the bench directed DGP M. Mahender Reddy, who appeared for the hearing through virtual mode, to continue such work. The bench told the DGP to set up separate help centres at government and private hospitals by roping in voluntary organisations to assist people thronging hospitals for COVID-19 treatment.

Mr. Reddy informed the HC that police were registering cases against function and banquet hall owners in case of violations relating to not maintaining social distance and participation of large number of guests. He explained that police refrained from booking cases in such instances against individuals as it was triggering some social tensions. Agreeing to this, the CJ instructed the police to be strict in enforcing all COVID-19-related norms and initiate action against violators.

The bench told Advocate General B.S. Prasad to advise the government to consider seizure of vehicles of people not wearing face mask properly. Imposition of ₹1,000 fine apart, vehicles of persons not wearing mask while driving should be seized at least for 24 hours. This would act as a deterrent and send warning signals to others, the bench said.

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Printable version | Jun 24, 2021 2:31:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/think-of-week-end-lockdown-longer-curfew-hc/article34491035.ece

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