Hyderabad: Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Sunday announced that State will be on total lockdown till March 31. All public transport will be stopped.

Inter-state borders will also be sealed with immediate effect after neighbouring Maharashtra witnessed a steep increase in Corona-positive cases.

KCR said the government will impose strict restriction on the movement of public during the shutdown. Gatherings of five or more people will not be allowed and a distance of 3-feet should be maintained between people when they go out to procure essential commodities. Only one person from a family will be allowed to go outside to buy essential commodities. Liquor shops will also remain closed till 31 March.

KCR said five new cases had been reported in the state on Sunday. “All five had returned from foreign trips. Two came from London and Dubai each and one from Scotland. All were referred for treatment. In fact, all the 26 Corona-positive patients are safe and recovering fast. Only one case of a local person infected with virus has been detected so far. Even in this case, the person was infected because his parents had returned from Dubai,” he explained. He was confident that the spread of the virus from foreign returnees would be controlled since the Centre has banned foreign flight services completely from 22 to29 March.

No vehicles, including TSRTC and RTC buses, private buses, and passenger vehicles will be allowed to enter or ply in Telangana till 31 March. Private taxis, cabs, and autos, too, will not be allowed on the roads. Only goods vehicles carrying essentials like medicines, food items, fruits, and vegetables will be allowed to enter and ply in the state.

Addressing a press conference at Pragathi Bhavan on Sunday, KCR thanked the people of the state for making Sunday’s shutdown a grand success. He praised people for coming out in large numbers at 5 p.m to clap hands and express their support and solidarity to those offering emergency services in the state. The Chief Minister appealed to the people to show the same fighting spirit and cooperate with the government till 31 March so that the government can effectively tackle the virus.

Except for essential services like health, medical, and power supply, the state will be under complete shutdown, he said. He announced the sanction of Rs 2,417 crore to assist BPL families (below poverty line) with ration cards during the shutdown period. Each family will get 12 kg rice per head free and Rs 1,500 will be given to each household. “We will supply 3.36 lakh tonnes of rice costing Rs 1,103 crore to over 86 lakh ration card holders for free,” KCR said.

He said the government had invoked the provisions under the Indian Epidemics Act, 1897, to impose the shutdown. The government will have special powers to tackle emergencies during calamities like outbreak of epidemics. The CM said as per this Act, all private companies are mandated to pay salary to their staff during the shutdown period. Even labourers working in construction sites should be paid. Government employees have to attend duties on a rotation basis every day wherein 20 per cent of the total employees will be allotted duties on a daily basis till 31 March. However, all government employees working in departments offering emergency services like medical, health, and power are required to attend duties as usual and are exempted from the shutdown.

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