Amaravati: Andhra Pradesh police chief Damodar Gautam Sawang has warned people against false propaganda on social media and said action will be taken against those found spreading misinformation.
"In these disturbing times, misinformation and rumors are being propagated especially through social media. Please do not believe and spread such messages without verifying them. Those who propagate such misinformation will face consequences as per law," he said.
This comes days after the Kurnool police booked former Chief Minister and leader of the Opposition N. Chandrababu Naidu for creating panic among people over the N440K variant of the coronavirus. The TDP chief had said that this variant found in Andhra Pradesh was 15 times more infectious. However, the Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology laboratory had burnished these claims citing insufficient evidence.
On 3 May, Andhra Pradesh announced it will impose a partial curfew in the state for 14 days from 5 May. All shops will be open from 6 a.m to 12 p.m with Section 144 in force and only emergency services will be allowed from there on.
The director-general of police, Mr. Gautam Sawang, appealed to the citizens to stay indoors and step out only if absolutely necessary. "Though the lockdown is relaxed between 6 a.m and noon, when in public places please follow physical distancing and use double masks. The police are enforcing lockdown strictly and cases will be registered against those who violate lockdown and vehicles will also be seized," he said, reiterating that Section 144 is in force which means no public gatherings.
Following a partial lockdown in the state, restrictions have been imposed on vehicular movement. According to the AP police, permission is required from the superintendent of police or the commissioner of police for travel. In addition, documents with proof have to be furnished for travel during the lockdown period.
The e-Pass system that was in place during the nationwide lockdown last year will again be operationalized to facilitate those who need to travel due to emergencies, the cops said.
Arrangements by the government
Meanwhile, the government has put in place several measures to help the public. 104 and 1092 helplines have been made operational for COVID- affected citizens. Doctors will be available for tele-consulation on these numbers. The state had especially requested those in home isolation to use these services.
Citizens have also been requested to avoid coming to police stations and instead use the Police Seva app from the safety of their homes. Also, they can use police emergency numbers 100 and 112 to give information about any violation of lockdown that comes to their notice.