Photo: PTI
Photo: PTI

The Rajasthan government has announced a weekend curfew from Friday 6 pm to Monday 5 am in an attempt to arrest the worrying rise of Covid-19 cases.

Chief minister Ashok Gehlot made the announcement on Thursday night around midnight. He held a review meeting with doctors and health experts to discuss measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the state.

Gehlot said earlier most Covid cases were being reported from 17 districts but in the last few days, the infection has spread fast and cases have spread to all districts. With 6658 new cases in the state and 33 deaths recorded, the government has decided to impose a weekend curfew.

Vegetable and fruit vendors, milk and LPG supply and banking services are exempted from the curfew. The curfew will also not affect the ongoing campaign for the three by-polls where voting will take place on April 17.

On Thursday, Rajasthan recorded 6658 new Covid-19 cases and 33 deaths. Experts say that the next three weeks are crucial. If people do not follow Covid protocols and strict curfew is not imposed, the cases can touch 30,000 to 40,000 daily.

Doctors say the second wave is aggressive and affecting the younger population between 20-40 years more. Children under 10 are also being infected and in the first 10 days of April, 114 children below 10 years tested positive.

The state has already tightened curbs and imposed an 11 hour night curfew from 6 pm to 5 am across the state. The Class 10 and Class 12 state board exams have been suspended in view of the surge in coronavirus cases.

Asking people to strictly follow Covid protocols and avoid unnecessary travel, Gehlot said the second wave of the coronavirus is more aggressive. He said in the first wave the rural areas remained largely untouched by the virus but this time around, 30 per cent of cases are being reported from rural areas and 60 per cent of infections are among those below 46 years of age.

He said the positivity rate and mortality rate are higher in the first 10 days of April than it was at the peak of the first wave in September-October 2020.

All shops and business establishments will have to shut down by 5 pm while all offices in the state will have to shut by 4. The night curfew will be enforced till April 30, 2021.

Other curbs have also been placed including shutting down of educational and coaching institutions. Cinema halls, multiplexes, theatres, gyms and swimming pools will remain shut. No social, religious, cultural functions or sporting events will be allowed.

A maximum of 50 guests will be allowed at weddings as against 100 guests earlier. No more than 20 people can attend funerals. Restaurants and clubs are allowed to function with 50 per cent capacity. Restaurants and clubs will have to follow the night curfew timings but home deliveries are allowed till 8 pm.

Factories, bus stands, railway stations, airports IT companies, medical shops have been exempted from the night curfew.

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