Srinagar, Jul 23: Strict restrictions were on Thursday imposed in the summer capital, Srinagar and other parts of Kashmir valley in view of five-day lockdown ordered by administration till July 27 to curtail the rapid rise of fresh COVID-19 cases and deaths from last over fortnight.
Meanwhile, the markets in Kashmir valley will reopen for three days from July 28 to facilitate hassle-free purchase of sacrificial animals and other necessary items in view of Eid-ul-Adha, which will be celebrated on August 1.
The Jammu and Kashmir administration announced a complete lockdown in areas which have been categorised as red zones in Kashmir, barring Bandipora, from Wednesday evening to July 27 due to spike in the number of Covid-19 cases.
Of the total 285 deaths since March this year, 250 people have lost their lives due to COVID-19 in 49 days, and 270 people in 63 day in J&K, where the total the number of infected persons have risen to 16,000.
Official sources said that strict restrictions have been imposed on movement of individuals, vehicles and all activities in Kashmir valley, particularly Srinagar, which is the worst hit area in terms of deaths and fresh COVID-19 cases.
However, they said essential service and medical emergencies have been kept out of the ambit of restrictions and would be allowed to move after proper verification.
All the roads and market places, including Lal Chowk, the nerve centre of the summer capital, have been sealed with authorities seeking cooperation from the public to curtail the spread of COVID-19 by strictly adhering to the lockdown.
Shops and business established were closed and traffic was off the roads in downtown, civil lines, uptown in Srinagar in view of the lockdown.
They said all Executive Magistrates along with respective SHOs shall personally monitor enforcement of lockdown and take necessary action in case of violations. “No inter and intra district movement will be allowed without valid permission or staff on medical/health duty,” they said.
“Any violation of the lockdown order will attract proceedings and action under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code, Section 51 of the Disaster Management Act and provisions contained in the Epidemic Diseases Act,” they added.
Reports of similar restrictions were coming from other parts of the valley, including Sopore, Baramulla, Kupwara in north and Anantnag, Pulwama, Kulgam and Shopian in north Kashmir.
Business and other activities were also crippled in central Kashmir districts of Budgam and Ganderbal, where roads have been closed with barbed wires in most parts to prevent movement of vehicles.
The restrictions were eased in Srinagar in the second week of June, following J&K administration allowing certain activities, including reopening of malls, barber shops, hotels and restaurants with new guidelines in the Union Territory. Meanwhile, parks and gardens were re-opened earlier this week after remaining closed for about four months. The restrictions were once again briefly re-imposed in Srinagar and some other parts of the valley on July 13 after spike in COVID-19 cases.