PORT BLAIR: The Andaman and Nicobar administration has decided to impose a complete lockdown on weekends, beginning August 1, to contain the spread of coronavirus, an official said on Wednesday.
The strict restrictions will be in force on Saturdays and Sundays till the COVID-19 situation improves in the Union territory, Chief Secretary Chetan B Sanghi said in an order issued on Tuesday.
All commercial establishments, shops and transport, barring those dealing with essential commodities and services, will remain shut, it said.
Hospitals, nursing homes, laboratories, medicine shops, entities involved in the manufacturing and distribution of medical equipment and transportation of essential commodities, will be exempted from total shutdown, the order said.
Meanwhile, 52 more people tested positive for COVID-19 in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, taking the Union territory's tally to 390, according to a health bulletin.
Of the fresh cases, 27 were detected on Wednesday and 25 on Tuesday.
The number of active cases in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands stands at 193, while 196 people have recovered from the disease and one patient has died, the bulletin said.
The Union territory registered its first coronavirus fatality on Monday after a 49-year-old government employee succumbed to the infection at the GB Pant Hospital here.
In view of the increasing number of coronavirus cases, the administration has ordered that people returning from the mainland will be home quarantined for seven days or till they test negative for COVID-19, whichever is earlier.
It also asked the government officials returning from the mainland to work from home till they test negative for the infection.
The RT-PCR test will be conducted on passengers arriving at the airport from the mainland and destined to tribal areas, while nodal officers for COVID-19 management have been asked to take measures for collecting samples daily from crowded places such as vegetable and fish markets, the order stated.
The administration has also started taking steps to convert the Industrial Training Institute (ITI) hostel here to a 60-bedded hospital for treatment of coronavirus patients who are not critical, Health Services Director Omkar Nath said.
He said the local administration also plans to turn the ITI workshop into a 200-bedded hospital.
The health department has already procured seven ventilators and have been installed in hospitals, Nath added.