Hyderabad: The Telangana government has imposed night curfew in the state from Tuesday in the face of surging coronavirus cases.
Issuing a formal order the state Chief Secretary Umesh Kumar on Tuesday announced that the night curfew from 9pm to 5am would remain in force till the morning of May 1.
The order came at a time when the Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao also tested positive and was in isolation at his farmhouse outside Hyderabad, with a team of doctors attending on him. Doctors have described his symptoms as mild and advised nine-days isolation .
Rao was apparently infected at an election rally in Nagarjunasagar last week which has turned out to be a super spreader as about 60 participants have tested positive. The public meeting at Halia was for the Nagarjunasagar by-election. Chief Minister KCR had addressed the meeting attended by 100,000 people. After the meeting 66 people, including the ruling TRS candidate Nomula Bhagat, tested positive. Rao also started developing symptoms like fever and body ache after the meeting.
The Chief Secretary said that as part of the night curfew all the offices, hotels, restaurants, shops and other business establishments would be closed by 8pm. However, clinics, pharmacies, diagnostic laboratories, media organisations, petrol bunks, cold storage, warehouses and other essential services will be exempted from the curfew.
He also said there would be no restrictions on inter-state transport services and the people will not require any special permissions or passes to undertake their journey and transport of goods.
The government orders came a day after the state High Court pulled up the state government wondering why it was not taking strict measures to control the spread of coronavirus.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Hima Kohli expressing its displeasure with the approach of the government, asked whether the state was contending for the top COVID-19 positive position in the country. The court had given 48 hours time to the state government to decide whether it wants to impose night curfew or weekend lockdown. The court warned that if the government does not take measures, it will be constrained to issue its own orders.
The situation in Telangana has turned grim with daily positive cases of coronavirus touching 6,000 on Sunday with 18 deaths. Hyderabad alone has recorded 793 positive cases on a single day.
According to medical and health department the state presently had 45,853 cases.
In a reflection of the grim situation, all the city hospitals were full and there were no critical care beds for fresh cases. The state was also facing a shortage of oxygen cylinders and private hospitals have asked the families of patients to arrange their own cylinders.
Bharat Biotech, a leading vaccine producer of India, has announced it was expanding its production capacity of Covaxin to 700 million doses per year.
The company in a press release said that it was scaling up its capacity at its facilities in Hyderabad and Bangalore to support vaccine campaign in India. For the purpose the company has secured raw materials, packing materials and single use consumables.
The announcement came a day after the Indian government announced that the vaccine will be available to any citizen above 18 years of age from May 1.