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20 states, UTs in complete lockdown; six partially shut

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New Delhi,Mar 23:  As many as 20 states and Union Territories have ordered complete lockdown under their jurisdiction and six other states have put in place similar restrictions in some areas in the wake of coronavirus outbreak, officials said on Monday.

The central government has also asked states to enforce additional restrictions, if necessary, leading to imposition of curfew in Punjab and Maharashtra.

“20 states and UTs have issued complete lockdown orders,” a senior government official said, adding six other states and UTs have placed some areas under lockdown.

There are 28 states and eight UTs in the country.

Three other states and UTs have issued directions for closure of certain activities so that there is no large gathering of people.

As many people continued to venture out despite the lockdown order, Puducherry, besides Punjab and Maharashtra, also ordered curfew so that no one goes out of home.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has appealed to state governments to ensure that rules and regulations of the coronavirus lockdown are enforced strictly as he noted that many people were not following the measures seriously.

“Many people are still not taking the lockdown seriously. Please save yourself, save your family, follow the instructions seriously. I request state governments to ensure rules and laws are followed,” Modi said in a tweet in Hindi.

Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla also held a video conference with DGP of the states where lockdown has been ordered and asked them to strictly implement the order, another official said.

The move came after reports that many people continue to venture out despite prohibitory orders against moving around in view of the coronavirus outbreak.

The central and state governments on Sunday announced lockdown in about 80 districts where at least one confirmed case of Covid-19 was reported.

Meanwhile, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba wrote a letter to State Chief Secretaries urging them to monitor the situation round the clock.

Gauba said additional restrictions if necessary may be imposed and all current restrictions must be enforced strongly.

All violations should be met with legal action, the Cabinet Secretary told the states and UTs.