COVID-19 Situation Serious in Mumbai, Kolkata, Jaipur, Indore: MHA
The MHA said there have been incidents of violence against healthcare workers, violation of lockdown in the states.
The Centre on Monday, 20 April, said that the COVID-19 situation is “especially serious” in Mumbai, Pune, Indore, Jaipur, Kolkata and a few other places in West Bengal, and violation of lockdown measures risk the spread of coronavirus.
In a communication to state governments and union territories, the home ministry said there have been several incidents of violence against COVID-19 frontline healthcare professionals, complete violation of social distancing norms and movement of vehicles in urban areas. These should be stopped, it added.
The death toll due to COVID-19 rose to 543 and the number of cases climbed to 17,265 in the country on Monday, according to the Union health ministry.
The situation is “especially serious” in Indore in Madhya Pradesh, Mumbai and Pune in Maharashtra, Jaipur in Rajasthan, and Kolkata, Howrah, East Medinipur, North 24 Parganas, Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Jalpaiguri in West Bengal, the ministry said.
There are 4,203 confirmed coronavirus cases in Maharashtra of which 223 people lost their lives, according to Union health ministry data.
In Madhya Pradesh, out of the 1,407 cases, 70 people have succumbed to the disease.
Rajasthan has reported 1,478 cases of which 14 people lost their lives. In West Bengal, there are 339 confirmed cases of which 12 people died due to the infection, according to health ministry data.
“Violation of lockdown measures has been reported, posing a serious health hazard to public and risk for spread of COVID-19”, it said.
The central government has constituted six Inter-Ministerial Central Teams (IMCTs) to make on-spot assessment of the COVID-19 situation in these places and issue necessary directions to the four states - Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and West Bengal - for redressal.
The teams will submit their reports to the central government in the larger interest of the general public, the ministry said.
“The IMCTs will focus on compliance and implementation of the lockdown measures as per guidelines, supply of essential commodities, social distancing, preparedness of health infrastructure, safety of health professionals and conditions of relief camps for labourers and poor people”, a home ministry spokesperson said.
Home Secy Appeals for Strict Complaince
In a communication to chief secretaries of state governments and Union Territory administrations, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said some states and UTs are issuing orders allowing activities which have not been allowed as per the guidelines issued by the home ministry under the Disaster Management Act, 2005.
"I would again urge you to ensure compliance of the revised consolidated guidelines, and direct all authorities concerned for their strict implementation in letter and spirit without any dilution and to ensure strict compliance of lockdown measures," he said.
The home secretary also drew the attention of the chief secretaries to the guidelines which categorically say that state and Union Territory governments will not dilute them in any manner and strictly enforce the same. They can, however, impose stricter measures than the guidelines as per the requirement of local areas.
Bhalla also pointed out to a recent Supreme Court observation that all state governments, public authorities and citizens will faithfully comply with the directives and orders issued by the Union of India in letter and spirit in the interest of public safety. The observations, which must be treated as the directions of the apex court, was conveyed in “my letter dated April 1 to all states and UTs (union territories),” he said.
The lockdown was first announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 24 March in a bid to combat the coronavirus pandemic. It was further extended till 3 May.
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