Strict 3-day lockdown to be enforced in Agra

After the Agra District Magistrate’s stern warning on Wednesday that another lockdown was inevitable if people continued to violate the ICMR guidelines, and moved around markets without masks, the city will be under strict lockdown for three days beginning Friday evening.

The decision to enforce the restrictions strictly came after the Yogi Adityanath government on Thursday announced a three-day lockdown in the state from 10 p.m. on Friday to 5 a.m. on Monday.

In the Taj city, the continued surge in the number of Covid-19 cases after the Unlock-1 was the causing alarm, and threatening to foil all governmental efforts to contain the infection, as widespread laxity and a violation of the guidelines was noticed.

In the past 24 hours, there were 16 fresh cases, taking the tally to 1,357. The number of active cases is 167. The number of containment zones in the city has gone up to 76.

So far 28,294 samples have been tested. The recovery rate is 80.99 per cent.

District officials said during the total lockdown for three days no one would be permitted to move around freely. Only essential services will remain operational.

The markets in the interior city were seen flouting guidelines, as customers crowded the narrow streets without masks and following social distancing norms. The Covid-19 cases in the past week have come from these densely populated areas.

The three-day shutdown would be used to sanitise localities and screen people in the containment zones, officials said.

The local tourism industry had been persistently asking the administration to open the Taj Mahal and other monuments, but the district authorities were reluctant all the while, as they feared the move could only add to the pressure on the fragile health infrastructure in the city. “The lockdown will allow some breathing time to set things right. Experts had been warning that July would see the peak and the numbers would surge. We are gearing up to face any situation,” a health official said.

Only essential services would be allowed to remain operational. All markets will remain closed and no movement would be permitted within the city, district officials clarified.