Srikakulam: Srikakulam town was declared a COVID-19 containment zone on 27 April after it reported the highest number of cases in the state in the past one week. On Monday night, the district administration decided to impose a half-day lockdown to contain the spread of the virus and instructed shops and commercial establishments to down their shutters from 2 p.m.

Srikakulam has been witnessing a steep rise in COVID-19 infections reporting between 900 to 1,200 positive cases for the past few days.

Srikakulam district collector J. Nivas said over 30 per cent of the COVID-positive cases have been reported from Srikakulam town. The district has reported 63,701 cases so far and a majority of these were reported in Srikakulam town.

At present, 1,381 COVID-19 patients are availing treatment at hospitals, while 1,001 are availing treatment at COVID care centres while as many as 10,499 people are under home isolations, he added.

"Considering the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Srikakulam district, we have asked traders and businessmen to operate commercial establishments till 2 p.m for two weeks from Tuesday to contain the spread of the virus," Mr. Nivas told reporters.

The district administration has directed customers, farmers, and traders to mandatorily wear masks and has called upon the Muslim community to maintain social distancing in mosques during Ramzan prayers. It has also appointed special officers to handle the COVID-19 situation in parts of the district and officials have been given tasks for better coordination in controlling the spread of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, traders and businessmen in the town are cooperating with the district administration to fight the virus. Commercial establishments were shut down by 2 p.m and only essential stores such as medical stores and others were open.

The locals suggested the police restrict the entry of crowded vehicles and also register cases against those who violate COVID-19 norms.

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