As COVID cases spike, villages in Telangana impose self-lockdown

Hyderabad: Taking cognizance of rising COVID-19 cases, two villages in Adilabad district–Ponnala and Boath on Thursday imposed a self-lockdown. For the next ten days atleast, all commercial establishments, including retail shops will remain shut after 5 pm.

The two villages passed a resolution after 20 positive cases were recorded in the last week. “Only emergency services like medical stores are kept open,” said Adilabad District Medical Health Officer (DMHO) Todasam Chandu, as quoted by The News Minute

Several other villages will follow suit after the Ugadi festival on Tuesday, he added.

Active COVID-19 cases in Telangana crossed the 17,000-mark on Saturday, with the health department reporting a record 2,909 cases–the highest ever in seven months. 

On March 10, only 189 positive cases were reported in the state. This is a multi-fold increase, owing to the intense spread of the virus’ second wave.

Not just Ponnala and Boath, several other villages in Telangana are choosing to self-impose lockdowns and night curfews, in their efforts to curb the rise.

Last week, after 27 residents tested positive, Sirpur village in Jagityal district went to self-imposed lockdown until April 15. Grocery stores and other essential services are allowed to operate in two slots — between 6 and 10 am and between 5 and 9 pm.

Kadipikonda village in Warangal (Urban) district too went into self-lockdown following many people contracting the virus after attending a funeral. The village now paints a ghosted look and grocery shops are open only between 6 am and 10 am.

In a similar manner, Garmillapalle and Edapally villages of Jayashankar Bhupalapally district self-imposed lockdown after families who attended religious gatherings and other events turned out to be super spreaders, infecting tens of people.

Recently, Hyderabad Kirana Merchant’s Association at Begum Bazaar has unanimously passed a resolution to restrict the business hours from 9 am to 5 pm in wake of upcoming Ramzan season shopping.

Schools and other educational institutions have already been temporarily shut by the Telangana government, but no directives issued are indicating either a lockdown or night curfew. Cinema halls and other commercial establishments continue to operate in full capacity.

However, chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao ordered to ramp up testing in rural pockets and has issued directions to medical authorities to set up testing centers in Gadwal, Wanaparthy, Khammam, Nirmal, Mancherial, Kamareddy, Sangareddy, Medak, Jagtial, Peddapalli, Ramagundam, Bhongir, Jangaon and Vikarabad districts. 

Hospitals in districts bordering Maharashtra, which is currently in weekend lockdown, have been fully equipped to handle the crisis.