Andhra under lockdown till March 31: Reddy

Amaravati (Andhra Pradesh) [India], Mar 22 (ANI): Lockdown has been imposed in Andhra Pradesh till March 31 in the backdrop of coronavirus outbreak in the country, said state Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy on Sunday.

"Until March 31, let us follow what the nation is doing. After that let us take stock of the situation; and will go ahead accordingly. I request all people to confine to houses, not to move out of their homes during the lockdown period in the state," said Reddy in a press conference here.

He said during this phase, the government will make ration available for the poor till March 29. "1 kg Dal will be given free, along with free ration. Every poor family will be given Rs 1,000 for ration purpose and in total Rs 1,500 crores will be spent for the scheme," he said.

He informed that government hospital up-gradation will be done and private hospitals will also be involved in services. "Though the country is going towards a fearing situation, Andhra Pradesh is in a far better condition. I thank village volunteers, medical staff and doctors in containing the coronavirus spread."

Stating that only six cases were reported in the state, he said: "11,670 foreign returnees are being tracked and kept under surveillance. Of them, only 24 are hospitalised," he said.

In Andhra Pradesh, schools, colleges and universities are already closed till March 31, however, higher secondary and intermediate exams will be held as per schedule.

Highlighting the major closures in the state, he said: "All malls, gyms, zoos, etc public places are already shut down. Major religious places are also closed. 13 states have already closed interstate public transport. Andhra should also go in that direction as well. All public transport services are being closed down. In case any transport is to be used, not more than 2 persons use it."

"All government offices and private institutes are suggested to run with a 'skeleton staff'," he added.

Reddy further appealed to the police to maintain beat vigilance on foreign returnees and directed all district collectors to ensure that essential commodities and medicines should not be hoarded or sold at escalated prices. If anybody found doing so then he will be penalised, he said.

Stressing on the importance of budget session, he said: "Budget session is a must. We will hold it for as minimum as possible time."

He appealed to people not to go in groups of more than 10 people and advised kids under 10-year age and senior citizens are requested not to venture out. (ANI)