COVID-19: Telangana May Impose Weekend Lockdown In Hyderabad

 - Sakshi Post

HYDERABAD: Even as the suspense continues on the issue of re-imposing a complete lockdown in Hyderabad, there is fresh speculation that the Telangana government may opt for a weekend lockdown in the state capital and other containment zones, where the incidence of coronavirus cases is on a record high. This goes against the earlier popular perception that a re-imposition of a full lockdown was the only option to contain the rapid spread of COVID-19 cases.

The state government, which appears to be in a ‘catch 22’ situation on the issue of whether or not to order a complete lockdown, is believed to be seriously weighing the option of enforcing a weekend lockdown, as a limited solution for the problem on hand. During the end of June, speculation was rife that a complete lockdown would be put in place under the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) limits, which covers the state capital Hyderabad and some parts of Ranga Reddy district. This was fueled by Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s own critical observations about the rampant spread of coronavirus and sudden spurt in the number of cases in Hyderabad.

Even Telangana Health Minister Eetela Rajender also suggested that a decision could be taken to this effect after due deliberations in the state cabinet meeting which was expected to be convened either on July 1 or 2. But the cabinet meeting not taking place as widely expected only reflected a change in the state government’s mood and a possible rethink on the issue.

While the suspense on the issue continues, there have been divergent voices within the government which spoke against the re-imposition of a complete shutdown in the state capital due to its impact on normal public life and the state’s economy. The state’s revenues were already badly dented during the two-month-odd nationwide lockdown.

But at the same time, the state government is faced with the dual challenges of keeping the wheel of economy spinning and also effectively containing the coronavirus pandemic. Despite different viewpoints, the unprecedented rise in COVID-19 cases in the state in the recent past, with most of them being recorded within the GHMC limits, the state government is also under pressure to initiate fresh measures for an immediate course-correction.

Keeping in mind this tricky situation which leaves it with no other option but to find a fine balance between both the predicaments, the state government is believed to be seriously considering the option of enforcing a weekend lockdown in Hyderabad or within the GHMC limits besides other COVID-19 sensitive containment zones. This way, the state government is reportedly hoping to allow businesses and normal life to go on as usual during the week before a stricter lockdown is enforced from Friday evening till Monday morning.

There is buzz once again that the Telangana state cabinet would be holding a crucial meeting under the chairmanship of CM KCR in the next two or three days where a decision to this effect could be taken.

The Telangana government appears to be tilting towards this option, drawing inspiration from a few other states which have already gone in for local lockdowns to contain the coronavirus pandemic in the most affected areas. Maharashtra, Delhi and Tamil Nadu, the states that were most severely hit by COVID-19, have been implementing local shutdowns for varying periods of time. Maharashtra has imposed a nine-day curfew in the industrial town of Aurangabad. Uttar Pradesh government has announced a two-day lockdown in the state on Friday while West Bengal went for a fresh lockdown in containment zones from Thursday to check the spread of the virus.

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