estrictions on movement imposed in Kashmir to prevent the spread of coronavirus were tightened on Wednesday and strict action initiated against violaters, following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement of a 21-day nationwide lockdown, officials said. Security forces sealed off several roads and erected barriers across the Valley to enforce the lockdown, they said.
Police vehicles fitted with public address systems went around the residential areas late Tuesday as well as on Wednesday morning, announcing the imposition of restrictions under section 144 of CrPC and advising people to stay indoors, the officials said. Police also used drones in some parts of the city to announce the restrictions, they added.
While the prime minister announced the country-wide lock down on Tuesday evening, the Union territory administration here had on Sunday imposed a similar restriction till March 31 as part of its efforts to combat coronavirus. The administration said essential services, including healthcare, were exempted from the purview of the restrictions.
It asked people to cooperate with it and warned of action against any violation of the prohibitory orders. Forty-nine people were arrested in Srinagar, Sopore, Handwara and Anantnag areas of the Valley for violating the prohibitory orders on Monday, while 45 were arrested in Ganderbal and Kupwara districts on Tuesday.
More than 1,800 residents of Kashmir, who have arrived from various countries, have been placed under quarantine at makeshift facilities. The authorities have appealed to people coming from outside to approach health officials and not conceal their travel history. Meanwhile, markets across the Valley were shut and public transport was off the roads. Only pharmacies and groceries were allowed to operate, the officials said.
Train services stand suspended till March 31. Educational institutions across Kashmir and all public places, including gymnasiums, parks, clubs and restaurants, have closed.
The restrictions were initially imposed in many parts of the Valley last Thursday after a 67-year-old woman from Khanyar area of the city, who had returned on March 16 from Saudi Arabia, tested positive for COVID-19 infection. The number of positive cases in the Valley stands at four.