JAMMU: In another step to check the spread of coronavirus, authorities in Jammu and Udhampur districts of Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday ordered the closure of all shops, except those dealing with essential commodities like medicines and groceries, till further orders.
The decision was taken to discourage people from venturing into markets, officials said.
"Despite advisories to avoid gatherings, large number of people are still found in the market areas. In order to implement social distancing, all shops except grocery and medical shops shall be closed with immediate effect," District Development Commissioner, Sushma Chauhan said.
Udhampur District Magistrate Piyush Singla also ordered the closure of all shops and business establishments in the district except essential supply units like fruits, vegetables, chemists, groceries and dairies.
"Retail grocery units have been directed to immediately start home delivery of orders. The mechanism of home delivery was finalised after long discussions with various stakeholders," he said adding that no gathering in and around the grocery shops would be allowed.
Meanwhile, almost all the main temples including Raghunath Mandir in Jammu were closed as a precautionary measure in view of the threat posed by a novel coronavirus.
The government has suspended pilgrimage to the famous Vaishno Devi Shrine on Wednesday besides suspending the interstate bus services till March 31.
Four patients were tested positive in Jammu and Kashmir, where the government had already closed all educational institutions, imposed prohibitory orders in almost all the districts and shut cinema halls, shopping malls, recreational clubs, parks and gardens.
Public transport in Ramban, Udhampur, Poonch and Rajouri districts were also suspended till the end of the month, while the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and Jammu and Kashmir Board of School Education has also announced the postponement of annual examinations in Jammu region.
Authorities suspended the train service in Kashmir till March 31 as a precautionary measure on Thursday in the wake of the detection of the first coronavirus case in the valley.
"In view of the apprehensions of the spread of coronavirus in the valley, as a precautionary measure, the rail services between Banihal and Baramulla have been suspended with an immediate effect," a railway official said.
He said the suspension will remain in force till March 31.