CORONA CLOSES COUNTRY; Kashmir shuts on Day 3

Srinagar, Mar 22: The entire India witnessed a complete shutdown on Sunday heeding the Prime Minister Modi’s call of Janta Curfew to somehow beat COVID-19, the virus that has brought the entire world to its knees.

Most of the over 130 crore population of India stayed indoors turning some of the busiest places in the second most populated country eerily empty.

For Kashmir though, it is déjà vu. The region which was coming out of months’ long lockdown in 2019 has to again shut, although for an entirely different reason now.

Sunday was the third consecutive day of lockdown in the valley called by the authorities here to break any chances of transmission of the virus. People readily concurred to the call as all shops, business establishments, and transport remained completely shut.

The Union Territory, so far, has four positive cases, including one from Srinagar and three from Jammu. Ladakh has 13 positive cases.

In Srinagar and other districts, police and paramilitary CRPF enforced curbs laying concertina wires and other barricades on major roads.

Employees associated with essential services and emergency cases were allowed to move.

Additional security forces were deployed across the valley to ensure that strict restrictions are imposed. On Sunday morning, police vehicles were used to announce strict restrictions. Restrictions were first imposed in parts of Kashmir on Thursday to contain the spread of the virus.

Educational institutions across Kashmir have already been closed, while all public places including gardens, restaurants and hotels have been shut down. The Jammu and Kashmir government declared holiday in all offices on Tuesday as a preventive measure to tackle the threat of coronavirus disease.

However, there was no let up in panic and scare among the people across Jammu and Kashmir over the outbreak of deadly coronavirus. Some shopkeepers and hoteliers in different parts of Kashmir, who were found violating the government orders, were detained and their shops and other food outlets were also sealed by the officials.

Kashmir is already under lockdown for the last four days with administration deciding to take it further, till the end of March. Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir P K Pole said that restrictions will continue till March 31.

“We are in phase three of deadly coronavirus. We need to control the speed of this virus. Therefore, it is necessary to continue with the restrictions in Kashmir so that the precious lives can be saved,” he said.

The government on Sunday issued a list of essentials services that can remain open during the curbs.

Meanwhile, in Jammu region, the restrictions in Rajouri, Poonch and other districts remained in place while only chemists, grocery, vegetables and milk products shops remained open.

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