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The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh has authorised the district officials to impose local restrictions, including night curfews, depending on the assessment and requirement of the situation in a bid to contain the spread of Covid-19.
According to a circular issued by Chief Secretary Rajendra Kumar Tiwari, the District Magistrates (DMs) can assess the situation and take action accordingly.
Tiwari said depending on their assessment of the situation and the requirement, the DMs could clamp down night curfews and impose Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) even outside a containment zone to contain the spread of the virus.
He also asked the DMs to ensure demarcation of containment zones at the micro-level in line with the Centre's call for "dynamic containment zones".
The Chief Secretary has, however, clarified that no lockdown outside the containment zones could be imposed without prior permission from the Central government.
The guidelines applicable to social and other gatherings, including marriage parties, outside containment zones would remain the same as issued by the state government on November 23.
"It has to be ensured that no movement of people in or out of these zones, except medical emergencies and the supply of essential goods and services is allowed," Tiwari directed the officials.
The Chief Secretary said though the number of positive Covid cases had declined in most places, the positivity rate had increased in some cities, he added, calling for extreme caution and alertness since the virus might further spread due to festive gatherings and the cold weather.
"The surveillance teams formed for this purpose will necessarily do intensive monitoring of each house under the containment zones and quick isolation of Covid-19 patients will be ensured," he added.
"In cities where the weekly Covid case positivity rate is more than 10 per cent, the officials concerned will consider implementing staggered office timings and other suitable measures to reduce the number of employees attending office at the same time, thereby, ensuring social-distancing," Tiwari said.
The new guidelines advise the vulnerable, including people above 65 years, and those with co-morbidity, pregnant women and children below 10 years, not to step out of their home unless it is essential for a medical emergency.