A top official from Uttar Pradesh today hinted that the lockdown might not open next week. Avanish Awasthi, Additional Chief Secretary (Home), said the lockdown would not be lifted even if a single case of coronavirus is left in Uttar Pradesh. His remarks come a day after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said the lockdown, which was imposed to contain the spread of coronavirus, will be lifted on April 15. He had also called for a mechanism to ensure crowding doesn't take place, else all efforts will go to waste.
"There is little possibility of lifting lockdown after April 15 as claimed in a section of media. We will not be in a position to lift the lockdown even if a single case of COVID-19 is left in Uttar Pradesh. So it can take time," he said today.
Awasthi said the number of coronavirus infections in the state climbed to 305 on Monday and Tablighi Jamaat members accounted for more than half of these cases.
"The total count of positive cases rose to 305 on Monday. Of the 27 fresh cases reported on Sunday, 21 are linked to the Tablighi Jamaat," he said, adding that eight Tablighi Jamaat members tested positive in Sitapur, five each in Lucknow and Shamli, and one each in Bijnor, Kanpur and Prayagraj.
As many as 159 of these 305 cases are linked to the Tablighi Jamaat, he said.
At least 9,000 people had participated in a congregation at the Tablighi Jamaat's Markaz (headquarters) in Delhi's Nizamuddin area last month after which many traveled to various parts of the country for missionary works.
"Our priority is to first take up the treatment of patients who have tested positive and then those who came in contact with them, besides tracing the chain of other contacts," Awasthi said. He said the list of contacts of COVID-19 patients has also grown manifold. Wherever cases have come to light, police have acted fast to ensure strict compliance of the lockdown, he added.
Uttar Pradesh has so far reported three coronavirus deaths, one each from Basti, Meerut, and Varanasi. At least 21 patients have recovered and been discharged from hospitals.
(With PTI inputs)