COVID-19 in Maharashtra: 'Partial lockdown' announced in Aurangabad from March 11 to April 4

In view of the spike in coronavirus cases, the administration in Maharashtra's Aurangabad on Sunday decided to impose a "partial lockdown" in the district between March 11 and April 4, as part of which markets, malls and cinema halls shall remain shut during the weekends, officials said. The world-famous heritage sites of Ajanta and Ellora, and other tourist spots in the district will also remain shut on Saturdays and Sundays, while marriages will not be allowed to be held in function halls during the lockdown period, they said.

Colleges, schools and training institutes will remain shut, they said. The decision to implement this partial lockdown across the district was taken during a meeting of the 'task force' comprising Collector Sunil Chavan, Municipal Commissioner Astik Kumar Pandey, Police Commissioner Nikhil Gupta, Superintendent of Police Mokshada Patil and other officials.

"The partial lockdown in Aurangabad district will come into force from March 11 and will continue till April 4," collector Chavan told reporters after the meeting.

"Markets shall remain closed on Saturdays and Sundays, but essential services shall operate on these days. Marriage ceremonies will not be allowed to be held at function halls and banquet halls during this period to avoid crowding. But the facility of registered marriage will be open," he said.

Malls and cinema halls will remain shut during the weekends. Restaurants and hotels can operate at 50 per cent of their seating capacity till 9 pm everyday and people can order food from them till 11 pm, he added. According to Chavan, online education shall continue as colleges, schools, and training institutes shall remain shut and libraries shall operate at 50 per cent of their seating capacity.

"Political, religious, social meetings, marches will be prohibited during this period. Swimming pools, sports competitions shall not be permitted," Chavan said.

The world heritage sites of Ajanta and Ellora along with other tourist spots in the district shall remain closed on Saturdays and Sundays, he said.

Industries will continue to operate in this period but the the workforce there will be instructed to undergo RT-PCR tests, the collector said.

The administration has decided to shut Jadhavwadi market in Aurangabad city for seven days from March 11, he said, adding, "If traders from this market commit to follow guidelines we can rethink of this decision later." "Bringing activities to a halt will not be done if partial lockdown works. If cases continue to go up, the option of imposing a stricter lockdown is open," Chavan said.

The district had reported 459 coronavirus cases on Friday, which took its overall infection count to 52,103 that day. Till Friday night, there were 2,910 active cases in the district, officials said.

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