The Himachal Pradesh government has decided to impose restrictions on gatherings and movement, including night curfew, till December 15 in view of rising COVID-19 infections and deaths in the state.
On Monday, the Himachal Pradesh cabinet, headed by Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, decided to impose a night curfew in four districts of Shimla, Mandi, Kullu and Kangra between 8 pm and 6 am for everyone barring those involved in discharging essential services.
Schools have been directed to remain closed till December 31, but online classes would start from November 26. In view of the pandemic, students of classes 1 to 4, and classes 6 and 7, would be promoted as per the provision of the Right to Education Act-2009, the cabinet decided.
Final examination for classes 5, 8, 9 and 11 would be conducted for all schools in March next year.
All political rallies, and even public grievance redressal meetings – Jan Manch – have also been suspended, and all government offices have been directed to operate with 50 per cent manpower, on rotation, till the middle of next month.
The state government added that outdoor functions with limited number of people may also be restricted if the coronavirus situation does not improve.
The fine for not wearing a mask in public places has also been increased to Rs 1,000.
The need to observe Covid-safe behaviour, such as wearing masks and social distancing, was underlined when a Himachali man succeeded in avoiding COVID-19 even when his entire village in Lahaul-Spiti district tested positive.
“The main reason that I tested negative was that I use a mask and sanitizer and maintain social distancing,” said 52-year-old Bhushan Thakur in Thorang village.
Himachal Pradesh has a total of 34,327 coronavirus cases with 537 deaths, so far.
Though these figures are among the lowest in India, the state has seen a 72 per cent rise in Covid-related fatalities in November till now – highest in the country – shows data analysed by NDTV.
Himachal Pradesh is also among the top 5 states with the highest percentage rise in active cases in November. In this period, the state’s active COVID-19 cases have increased 143 per cent with an addition of 4,143 coronavirus infections.
Alarmed by the rise in active cases and deaths, the Central government had also deputed high-level teams of experts to Himachal Pradesh, besides Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.
Earlier, high-level teams were sent to Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Manipur and Chhattisgarh. Some of these states have also imposed night curfew, while the others have urged people to follow norms failing which partial lockdowns could be imposed.
Though India’s overall coronavirus numbers have been steady since the sharp fall after the mid-September surge, some smaller states have seen an unusual rise in daily cases and deaths.
India’s coronavirus tally surges past the 91 lakh mark today with COVID-19 having claimed more than 1.3 lakh lives till now.