Lockdown curbs may be eased further

Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao interacting with a COVID patient undergoing treatment at MGM Hospital in Warangal on Friday. Arrangement  

As the deadline for expiry of the ongoing restrictions on movement of people and operation of shops and establishments is approaching fast, all eyes are on whether the government will prefer extending the restrictions to completely rein in the COVID-19 pandemic or ease the restrictions further.

The State government had opted for lockdown from May 12 to 30 allowing activities between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. The relaxations were eased subsequently allowing activities till 1 p.m. till June 9 and till 5 p.m. till June 19 with a grace period of one hour, facilitating people reaching their destinations. Steps were taken to implement the lockdown restrictions strictly between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. with movement of only essential services allowed during the restricted hours. Lockdown restrictions from 6 p.m. to 10 a.m. are still continuing in some constituencies including Nalgonda, Nagarjunasagar, Sattupalli, Munugode, Devarakonda and Madhira, where the number of cases was still on the higher side.

The number of active cases in the State came down to below 20,000 and case fatality rate and recovery rate are pegged at 0.57% and 96.21% respectively, much better than the national average (1.3% and 95.89%) according to the latest information released by the Health department.

Given the significant improvement in the recovery rate and low rate of hospitalisation cases, the government is understood to be seriously examining the prospects of lifting the restrictions completely or to give some more relaxations till the cases fall further. Senior officials are of the view that the government should opt for removing the restrictions to the maximum extent possible so that life returns to normal.

Substantiating the view was the recent assertion of Minister K.T. Rama Rao who said during a meeting that normalcy was set to return as things were falling into place after the measures taken by the government to check the spread of the virus had yielded successful results. Health department officials too echoed similar views when they had said in the past couple of press conferences that lockdown was likely to be lifted “very soon”, without however specifying the time line.

Accordingly, officials of the Health department are anticipating that Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao will convene a meeting with senior officials of the departments concerned along with Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar and Director General of Police M. Mahender Reddy in a day or two for taking a call on the way forward after the expiry of the restrictions. The meeting is expected to take stock of the prevailing situation, effectiveness of the lockdown restrictions, impact of restrictions on the economic activities and the vaccination drive that would be launched afresh on June 21 before taking a decision on either lifting the lockdown restrictions fully or easing the restrictions further.

There is a general view that the lockdown restrictions would be lifted till 9/10 p.m. and night curfew would be in place from then as a precaution. Shops and business establishments are likely to be allowed to function normally while there is no clarity on whether bars, gyms and other avenues would be opened.

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Printable version | Jul 25, 2021 9:25:47 AM |

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