With the borders of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh being sealed as part of the lockdown to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, authorities have found people resorting to different ways to circumvent the closure.
The police reported at least three incidents on Monday where passengers were being ferried in ambulances under the guise of patients, as emergency vehicles are exempt from the lockdown and can cross the state's borders.
In the first incident at Kodad in Suryapet district, the police found an ambulance carrying over 12 passengers with their luggage. Investigation officials said that the passengers were being ferried from Hyderabad to Vijayawada and had paid Rs 1,000 per head to the ambulance staff, who were looking to make a quick buck.
Meanwhile, another case surfaced in Hayathnagar, when the police intercepted an ambulance with six people inside at Pedda Amberpet. The people were being transported to Nalgonda in violation of the lockdown rules.
According to reports, the police booked a case against the driver under Sections 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) and 269 (Negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
A similar case also came to light at Gadwal.
The number of cases of coronavirus in Telangana rose to 33, state Health Minister E Rajender said on Monday. Observing that one patient has already been discharged from hospital after recovery, Rajender said the discharge of other patients would start in another two to three days.
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao announced the lockdown of the state after a high-level meeting on Sunday.
Addressing the media, KCR urged people to stay indoors for another week to save themselves, the state and the country.
"There would be no curfew-like situation during the lockdown but more than five persons would not be allowed to assemble," he said.
"Only self-restraint can protect us, the state and the country," he said, adding the government will review the situation on March 31 to decide the future course of action.