Curfew-free time cut to five hours in AP

deccan chronicle

Nation, Current Affairs

Seven hours is too much, and encourages people to linger in groups, CM Jagan says

People disregard social distancing precautions in their hurry to buy essential supplies from a ration shop in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh on Sunday, March 29, 2020. (DC Photo: Tejo Roy)

Vijayawada: Alarmed by Covid-19’s acceleration in the cities, the Andhra Pradesh government has cut curfew-relaxation hours from seven to five hours. Longer hours will continue in the rural areas, however.

So city people can only go about making their purchases from 6 am to 11 am. Until now they could do so during a seven-hour window, 6 am to 1 pm.

Chief minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy came to this decision at a high-level review of corona preparedness with ministers and officials Sunday. He ordered even stricter implementation of the Covid-19 lockdown in the state.

The state has 21 Covid-19 positive cases in all. Six cases were reported just on Saturday. The cases are predominantly from urban areas such as Visakhapatnam, Krishna, Guntur, Prakasam, Nellore, Kurnool, East Godavari and Chittoor district.

The government therefore sees a need to restrain public activity in the towns and cities. Therefore the curtailment of no-curfew times.

Some ministers and officials argued that seven hours of curfew relaxation was making shopping too languid, and encouraging people to hang out in groups.

Early in the meeting the chief minister sought a report on the availability of essential goods and food at Rythu Bazaars and groceries to fulfil the needs of the public in fewer hours. After reviewing the situation, Mr Reddy decided to decrease relaxation time in the urban areas.

Director-general of police Goutam Sawang said that an integrated call centre has been set-up in every district to report issues and that they would be resolved soon. He said that urban areas are a higher priority as the intensity of the virus spread is higher in urban places.