Strict lockdown restrictions were reimposed in most parts of Kashmir, including in the summer capital city, Srinagar, on Monday after a sudden surge in COVID-19 cases in the valley over the past one week, reported Press Trust of India.
Quoting unnamed officials, the news agency reported that strict restrictions have been imposed in Srinagar and other parts of the valley and no movement of people, except for essential services and medical emergencies, was being allowed.
The authorities sealed most of the roads and market places, including the business hub of Lal Chowk here, and sought cooperation of the public to make the lockdown a success.
In Srinagar, the district administration has identified eighty-eight containment zones across the city and strict restrictions on public movement and activities were imposed after a sharp spike in COVID-19 cases, they said.
The administration has drawn maps of each of these containment zones and they have been sealed as per these maps with only one entry/exit point kept open, the officials said.
They said each of the containment zones has been sealed at 300-500 meters from spots where COVID-19 cases have been detected and entries and exits of all these areas were being manned to ensure strict enforcement of restrictions on movement into and out of them.
The district administration is exploring possibilities of installing surveillance cameras at entries and exits of these areas to ensure there are no violations, they said, adding that their connection with the central control room established at the Deputy Commissioner office once installed is also being explored with an aim to ensure effective enforcement of containment plan through its monitoring at more than one level.
The administration has issued orders for cancelling of all leaves of government officials in the district and are calling them for duties.
Orders for strictest punishments under the Disaster Management Act and other relevant provisions of the law to those violating preventive guidelines of the government for containment of COVID-19 have also been issued, the officials said.
The fine for not wearing mask in public has been increased to Rs 1,000 and Rs 10,000 for those violating social distancing norms in the containment zones, they said.
The officials said the decision to reimpose restrictions in the valley was taken after recommendations of experts and is aimed at containing further spread of the disease.
A total of 295 out of the 357 fresh COVID-19 cases were reported from Kashmir on Sunday, while 62 were from the Jammu region. Srinagar district recorded the highest number of 97 new infections, followed by 40 in neighbouring Ganderbal, according to officials.
While the administration had first announced a lockdown across Jammu and Kashmir on 22 March as part of its efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19, restrictions were imposed in many parts of the valley, including in the city here, on 19 March after the union territory saw its first positive case from Srinagar.
The lockdown was then gradually eased in June and the markets in the city re-opened after about three months in the second week of June. (Inputs from PTI)