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    As COVID-19 cases surge, weekend lockdown in Maharashtra’s Amaravati

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    Amid a rise in coronavirus cases in Maharashtra, administrations of Amaravati and Yavatmal districts announced lockdowns of different durations. While Amravati district collector Shailesh Naval announced a weekend lockdown, his Yavatmal counterpart MD Singh announced a 10-day lockdown.

    In Amravati, the lockdown will be imposed from 8 pm on Saturday to 7 am on Monday, a period during which markets and other establishments will remain shut. However, essential services will remain unaffected.

    “In view of a spurt in COVID-19 cases, I have decided to impose a weekend lockdown in the district. To avoid any stricter lockdown in the future, I appeal to people to follow COVID-19 appropriate behaviour,” Naval said.

    Naval said on weekdays, all establishments, including hotels and restaurants, would stay open only till 8 pm (from earlier 10 pm).

    He said during the weekend lockdown all markets and other establishments will remain shut. “Swimming pools and indoor games, too, will remain closed, while only five people will be allowed at religious ceremonies,” he said.

    Amravati reported 230 cases on Wednesday, a sharp rise from 82 infections registered on Tuesday.

    Concerned by a growing number of coronavirus cases, the administration in eastern Maharashtra’s Yavatmal district ordered a ten-day lockdown from Thursday night.

    The district collector said the number of COVID-19 cases in the district was increasing since 1 February, and the district had 606 active cases as of Wednesday. Almost 80 to 90 percent of new cases were being reported from Yavatmal, Pandharkawda and Pusad cities, he said.

    Schools, colleges, coaching classes will remain closed and no religious functions will be allowed during this period, while only 50 persons will be allowed at weddings, he added.

    Of late, Maharashtra has been witnessing a steady rise in COVID-19 cases. The state reported 4,787 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, the highest one-day count in more than two months. A few other districts in the Vidarbha region have also registered a steady rise in COVID-19 cases in the recent weeks.

    Official sources had earlier told sources that the Maharashtra government may impose a stricter lockdown in Yavatmal, Amravati and Akola cities of Vidarbha region in view of the COVID-19 situation there. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and his deputy Ajit Pawar discussed the issue on Thursday morning, they said.

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