Telangana: With night curfew ending today, will lockdown be imposed?

Hyderabad: With the night curfew imposed by the Telangana government to effectively control rising COVID-19 cases in the state ending on Friday (April 30), speculations are on the rise that a lockdown could be imposed.

The COVID-19 cases in Telangana does not show a declining trend, but is fluctuating. 7,646 new infections and 53 deaths are recorded on Monday, the health department said in a bulletin. This is a slight dip from Thursday’s numbers of 7,994 cases and 58 deaths.

On Thursday, Telangana high court sought the state government’s plan on extending the night curfew or imposing a full-lockdown in curbing the rise in COVID-19 cases. The high court bench, headed by chief justice Hima Kohli, also expressed its indignation over the state government’s habit of taking the important decisions at the eleventh hour.

Advocate General B.S Prasad informed the high court bench that the chief secretary Somesh Kumar would hold a meeting with district collectors and others on Friday morning, after which a decision would be taken based on the inputs shared.

But, the state government authorities had repeatedly reiterated that a full-lockdown is ruled out, considering several issues. On Wednesday, director of public health, Dr G Srinivasa Rao issued a statement clarifying that the health department had not recommended to the state government to impose a lockdown.

Besides, state home minister Mahmood Ali too said that the government was not in support of a lockdown as it would cause hardship to the poor. He said that the chief minister will take a decision on Friday, based on recommendations of the health ministry.

But local reports stated that Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) authorities have begun making arrangements, hinting at a lockdown. As a part of this, they are shifting homeless footpath dwellers and beggars to night shelters.

A source in the GHMC said that it is only a precautionary measure to be ready if at all the government imposes a lockdown.

Tamil Nadu on Thursday too extended night curfew and Sunday lockdown imposition ‘until further notice’. As the caseload of Telangana is lesser compared to its worst-hit neighbours Maharashtra and Karnataka, it is unlikely that a full-lockdown would be imposed.