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Allahabad High Court expresses worry over Covid in Uttar Pradesh; suggests ‘selective’ lockdown


LUCKNOW: The Allahabad High Court expressed worry over the Covid situation in Uttar Pradesh and in multiple remarks suggested the government to consider the option of another “selective lockdown” even as it acknowledged the steps taken by the state to rein in the pandemic.

It has asked the chief secretary to come up with a “roadmap” in terms of the observations made by the court in the order to contain the contagion from now onwards and file the affidavit by Friday when the next hearing has been scheduled.

The HC was listening to a PIL filed to attract attention to the condition of quarantine centres in the state and providing better treatment to Covid positive patients. It said the statistics of admitted rise in number of COVID positive cases are very “disheartening” and the way the pandemic has progressed in several parts of the state, “any step lesser than a lock down would be of no help”.

It said while the state government has issued directives from time to time, the police and the district administration has “completely failed” to restrict unnecessary movement of people and from preventing them from assembling in commercial places like tea stalls and beetel shops. It said while it did not “doubt the government’s will”, mere penalising of people then letting them go, and “round the clock patrolling in lanes and by lanes” by the “insufficient” police force was consuming public resources while achieving little.

“When we have to balance between bread and butter and life, the latter has to prevail. Food is for life to survive and not vice-versa. We do not think that a lock down for a fortnight would bring the economy of the State to such a halt that people would die of hunger,” the HC said.

“Thus, in our opinion the best choice today is to close down things for a while though selectively, to force people to confine themselves to their homes”, he HC said.

Chief secretary RK Tiwari told ET that whatever suitable steps need to be taken in the best interest of the people in the state are already being taken, but the government will file an affidavit as asked by the court.

With a population of about 23 crore, Uttar Pradesh has reported a total of 2.03 lakh cases out of which 1.49 lakh people have recovered, making the recovery rate 73%. The case fatality rate of UP is 1.54%, less than the national average of 1.84% and the state has steadily been increasing the number of samples it tests every day. It conducted close to 1.45 lakh samples tests on Tuesday and the target is to test 1.50 lakh samples every day, principal secretary of health Amit Mohan Prasad said adding that close to 50 lakh tests have been conducted in the state up till now.

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