Andhra Pradesh

Impose restrictions to curb COVID spread, say denizens

Police asking visitors leave the Beach Road in the wake of a growing number of COVID cases, in Visakhapatnam on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: K.R. DEEPAK

Denizens across the city, alarmed by a lack of concrete action to combat the rising second wave of COVID-19 cases, are calling for tight measures to be implemented in order to ensure people follow safety norms, such as wearing masks and maintaining physical distancing.

With no restrictions in place, and feeble enforcement of norms, people moving freely in the city without wearing masks or following physical distancing norms has become a common sight.

With the outbreak of the second wave, the district has been recording at least 350 new infections on an average every day. In this month, 28 persons affected by COVID-19 died while undergoing treatment.

In a letter to Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, retired IAS officer E.A.S. Sarma suggested him to make wearing masks in public places mandatory, and impose a fine of ₹2,000 on people found breaching the rule. He also sought that officials allow not more than 30 people for any kind of public gathering. He also suggested restrictions on inter-State movement, as neighbouring States too are witnessing spikes in infections.

“The RT-PCR test must be made mandatory for passengers coming to A.P. via airports, railways, inter-State bus services, and private vehicles. The State should ramp up public healthcare infrastructure by creating special COVID hospitals with adequate beds, ventilators, oxygen supply, and other ICU facilities. The earlier system of containment zones should be revived urgently,” he stated.

Human Rights Forum (HRF) AP & TS Coordination Committee member V.S. Krishna urged the State government to put an effective stop on large religious congregations, big assemblies and gatherings and election rallies.

“The government should initiate measures to ensure that unorganised migrant labourers do not undergo the suffering they were subjected to last summer. They should be provided all basic amenities and their economic well-being and safety suitably addressed and assured,” Mr. Krishna said.

Meanwhile, some people sought immediate restrictions on people converging on Beach Road in the evenings. “Beach Road is one place where people gather in large numbers. In such a situation, it is better to prevent entry of people, at least during weekends and public holidays,” said P. Vasu, a resident of Maddilapalem.

“Officials should ensure COVID-19 safety norms are brought back in public transport. Overcrowding of auto-rickshaws and packed buses has been a common sight despite the increase in cases. Night curfew can be implemented to prevent public gatherings late at night. It would also raise awareness that the COVID-19 situation is not something to be taken lightly,” said Meghna M., a resident of Seethammadhara.

Many feel that the government should also bring in some restrictions on shopping malls and multiplexes, where the distance between seats have already been done with. Enforcement of thermal scanners, hand sanitisers at shopping malls, cinema theatres and public places should be monitored, said K. Padma of Mahila Chetana.

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Printable version | May 9, 2021 8:18:17 PM |

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