After the Telangana High Court expressed immense dissatisfaction over the state government's failure to handle the rising incidence of Covid-19 in the state and directed it to take a decision on the imposition of a curfew
yesterday, the government today issued orders imposing a night curfew, from 9:00 pm to 5:00 am, till May 1.
The orders were issued in GO no 87, released by Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar.
According to the GO, all offices, shops, pubs, restaurants, hotels and other public places will have to close at 8:00 pm every evening from today till May 1.
Print and electronic media offices, pharmaceutical firms, chemist shops, hospitals, emergency services, petrol pumps, LPG and CNG suppliers, cold storage facilities, essential commodities and government agencies and offices however are exempted from following the curfew timings. The exemption orders also apply to IT and IT-related services, power and water agencies, the telecommunication industry, and inter-state and intra-state transit facilities.
While issuing the orders, the Chief Secretary instructed all the district-level officials to ensure the strict implementation of the same, highlighting the importance of the curfew in arresting the rise of Covid-19 cases in Telangana.
He said, "There has been a surge in Covid-19 cases across the country and in the state. The state has recorded 5,926 fresh positive cases, including 793 in the GHMC area, and currently has 42,853 active cases. The curfew orders have been implemented to prevent the disease from spreading further. The government will continue to monitor the situation over the next few days and will take the necessary steps to deal with the pandemic accordingly. Inter-state and intra-state transportation facilities, including buses, auto-rickshaws, railways, and air services, will not be required to adhere to the curfew timings."
Despite the expedition given to transit facilities, however, it seems that the Hyderabad Metro Rail service will indeed be required to follow the curfew timings. The last trains from every terminal station in the city will leave the stations at 7:45 pm and will reach their destination stations by about 8:45 pm, till April 30. There is no change in the timing of the first set of trains which will continue to start at 06:30 am.
For the sake of public safety and wellbeing, the metro rail authorities have advised all passengers to strictly follow the Covid-19 safety guidelines, including social distancing, mask-wearing, regular hand sanitising, and thermal screening.
Passengers will also be required to cooperate with security personnel and the staff of the Hyderabad Metro Rail in their efforts towards keeping the train journeys safe for all, a statement released by metro rail authorities said.
Meanwhile, following the release of today's GO, Telangana DGP M Mahender Reddy today held a video conference with the IGs, CPs and SPs of various districts of the state and asked them to strictly enforce the night curfew in their respective areas of jurisdiction.
He said that the police must ensure that all the measures mentioned in the GO be implemented strictly across Telangana, and that those exempted from following the curfew be asked to show their identity cards during routine checks.
However, Reddy cautioned police personnel against behaving rudely with the citizens in their efforts to implement the curfew.
The DGP also urged various civil society organisations to hold awareness programs on the imposition of the night curfew.