In a move to enforce the state-wide lockdown in Andhra Pradesh to contain the COVID-19 disease, the Krishna district administration has issued strict guidelines for Vijayawada from Tuesday. The city is to observe a complete shutdown from 7 pm to 6 am till March 31, Krishna District Collector Md Imtiaz Ali said on Monday. In this period, only hospitals, medical stores, ambulance services, and vehicles carrying essential commodities will be allowed to remain open or venture out.
Warning that action will be taken against those who violate the restrictions, the Collector said that so far, 35 people have been booked by the police.
One person has tested positive for COVID-19 in Vijayawada. The patient is a 24-year-old man, who had returned from Paris.
As per the restrictions, small local grocery shops, vegetable and fruit markets - including Rythu Bazars (farmers’ markets) - are allowed to stay open from 6 am to 9 am. Md Imtiaz also directed that Rythu Bazars be moved to open areas near their present locations to avoid crowding and reduce physical contact. The Swaraj Maidan market is to be shifted to the Indira Gandhi Stadium; the Patamata market to the Patamata Zilla Parishad High School premises; and the Kesareshwarpet market to the Gandhi Municipal School premises.
Milk parlours, or shops selling milk and dairy products, can remain open from 4 am to 8 am, and vehicles transporting milk will be allowed to ply on the roads from 4 am to 6 am. ATM cash vehicles will be allowed to venture out between 5 am and 9 am.
Hotels will be allowed to remain open from 7 am to 7 pm for takeaways alone.
The city will be under total lockdown, with round the clock exemptions for essential government services (like police, fire, revenue, electricity, health and medical departments, and the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation), print and electronic media vehicles, and vehicles of telecom or mobile communication companies.
Clothes shops, sweet shops, bakeries, ice cream shops, iron and painting shops, automobile, electric and electrical stores and wholesale shops are to remain completely closed.
The COVID-19 patient in Vijayawada had travelled from Paris to Delhi on March 15. On March 16, he took a flight from Delhi to Hyderabad. He then travelled to Vijayawada in a private taxi, reaching on March 17. According to Md Imtiaz, the man was in home isolation on March 18 and 19. On March 20, he started showing symptoms, and was admitted to the Government General Hospital.
Additional containment measures have been taken in the area close to the patient’s residence in the Kothapet area. According to reports, Md Imtiaz has declared 30 municipal wards within a 3-km radius of the patient’s residence as a ‘containment zone’. All entry and exit of people and vehicles in this zone is reportedly being stopped.
According to Md Imtiaz, medical checkups have been conducted in around 500 households in the neighbourhood. Samples have been collected from those who had been in close contact with the patient, including his family members.