Hyderabad: The Telangana government on Friday extended the ongoing night curfew till May 8, putting all speculations of an impending lockdown to rest. State chief secretary Somesh Kumar passed a GO, extending the existing curfew. Many had been expecting a complete shut down, given that thousands of COVID-19 cases are being reported everyday in the southern state.
Prior to this, the Telangana government on April 20 had passed an order restricting movement of the general public from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. for a period of 10 days. On that day, the state had reported nearly 6,000 new COVID-19 cases. On Friday, 7,646 new cases had been reported. Under the restrictions, all shops and establishments, barring those involved in essential services, will have to close by 8 p.m.
Over the last week, as new cases sharply increased in Telangana, rumours of another lockdown like last year began spreading among the general public. Media reports suggested that the state government, led by chief minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR), would impose a lockdown from May 3. However, some other reports said that KCR is not in favour of a lockdown given that it affects the daily livelihood of many people.
However, it may be noted that even without a full lockdown, streets are currently running empty across the city, and traffic is less than half of what it used to be pre-COVID. It indicates that many are voluntarily staying in their homes. Moreover, Dr. Srinivasa Rao, director, Telangana’s Public Health department, had also said on April 29 that the recommendation of a lockdown was not proposed. He however warned that the next few weeks will be crucial in containing the spread of COVID-19.
As of now, due to the sharp spike in COVID-19 cases, hospitals, especially private or corporate, are running short of beds and ventilator beds to treat COVID-19 patients. Given the high demand, private healthcare centres are charging anywhere between Rs. 50000 to Rs. 1 lakh per bed per day from families of patients.
What you can and can’t do under the curfew:
Under the latest restrictions, state and central government officials (including those of urban local bodies and Panchayati Raj Institutions on emergency duty from Telangana), all private medical personnel such as doctors, nursing staff, paramedics and providers of other hospital services, can move around since they fall under the essential services category.
Moreover, on production of valid identity card, Pregnant women and patients for the purpose of receiving medical care, and persons coming from/going to airports, railway stations, bus stands on production of valid ticket can also travel during the curfew hours of 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Establishments allowed to remain open:
During the night curfew, all offices, firms, shops, establishments, restaurants etc. will have to close by 8 pm, except hospitals, diagnostic labs, pharmacies and those dealing with supply of essential services, like the following:
Print and electronic media, telecommunications, internet services, broadcasting and cable services, IT and IT enabled services, delivery of all goods through e-commerce, petrol pumps, LPG, CNG, petroleum and gas outlets.
Power generation, transmission and distribution, water supply and sanitation, cold storage and warehousing services, private security services, production units or services which require continuous process.