NEW DELHI: As people continue to venture out despite lockdown, the Centre has advised state governments and union territory administrations to impose curfew wherever necessary in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, officials said on Tuesday.
A top functionary of the central government has called up some of the chief ministers and apprised them of the necessity of imposing the curfew if people continue to venture out of their homes.
The state governments and the union territory administrations have been advised to impose curfew wherever necessary as many people continue to go out of their homes despite the lockdown ordered to check the spread of the virus, a government official told PTI.
The state governments have been conveyed that public gatherings could lead to an escalation of the prevailing situation as so far nearly 500 positive cases have been reported from different parts of the country.
"Now, it is up to the state governments to take action as per the local situation and give necessary instructions to the district magistrates who have the powers to impose curfew," the official said.
The move came as 32 states and union territories announced complete lockdown to deal with the pandemic.
Two states - Punjab and Maharashtra - and a UT - Puducherry - have already declared curfew in their respective areas.
The states and UTs which have imposed lockdown in all districts include Chandigarh, Delhi, Goa, Jammu and Kashmir and Nagaland.
The others include Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Ladakh, Tripura, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Meghalaya, Jharkhand, Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Haryana, Daman Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Karnataka and Assam.
Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, meanwhile, has written 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.
Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla also held a video conference with DGPs of all states and asked them to strictly implement the lockdown and take action against those who violate it.
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 on Monday.
According to the data updated on Tuesday morning, the total number of COVID-19 cases rose to 492, including 446 active cases.
The figure includes 41 foreign nationals and the nine deaths reported so far, the Health Ministry said.
Seven deaths were earlier reported from Maharashtra (two), Bihar, Karnataka, Delhi, Gujarat and Punjab.
Thirty-seven people have been cured/discharged/migrated, according to the official data.
The number of active cases at 446 saw an increase of 22 from last night's figure, it said.
As cases of the viral infection surged, authorities have put almost the entire country under lockdown, banning gathering of people and suspending road, rail and air traffic till March 31.