BHOPAL: The COVID-19 surge in smaller districts of Madhya Pradesh are emerging as a major challenge for the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government.
Smaller districts, including Katni, Ratlam, Khargone, Chhindwara, Betul and Shajapur are reporting a major spike in COVID-19 cases during the pandemic’s second wave, forcing the state government and district administrations to impose a total lockdown of 7-9 days.
A day after the CM announced to impose Sunday lockdown in all urban areas of the state, except the by-poll bound Damoh, Chouhan had to alter the decision. The Sunday lockdown has now become two-day Saturday-Sunday lockdown in urban areas of all districts, except Damoh. The 60-hours long lockdown will be effective from 6 pm on Friday to 6 am on Monday.
But the Ratlam district will have a nine day-long lockdown, which will start at 6 pm on Friday and continue till 6 am on April 19. In Khargone, Betul and Katni districts, the lockdown will start at 6 pm on Friday and continue till 6 am on April 17. In Chhindwara district, the complete lockdown started on Thursday evening and will continue till April 16 morning. In Shajapur, three days lockdown has already begun from Wednesday evening.
Complete lockdown in all parts of these districts and not just urban areas has been imposed as they have a high daily positivity rate (20% to 25%). Ratlam reported 253 cases in the last two days --109 on Wednesday and 144 cases on Thursday.
“The lockdown has become necessary to address rising cases in urban areas and prevent the population from rural areas to come to city areas, which will make them vulnerable to the viral infection,” Ratlam district collector Gopal Chandra Daand said on Thursday.
Meanwhile, CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan chaired a series of meetings on COVID-19 in Bhopal in the morning as well as evening.
“We’ve decided to increase the number of COVID-19 dedicated beds in hospitals and COVID care centers from 36,000 t0 One Lakh. Besides Saturday-Sunday lockdown in all urban areas of the state, complete lockdown will be imposed within containment zones to be identified in all districts with high viral load,” Chouhan said.
Meanwhile, the COVID-19 surge showed no signs of slowing down, as 4324 new cases and27 deaths were reported across the state over the last 24 hours. The daily positivity rate which stood at 12% on Wednesday rose to 12.9%, while the active cases in the state grew to 28060.
Among the new cases, Indore reported 898 fresh cases, Bhopal 657 cases, Jabalpur 298 cases, Gwalior 225 cases, Ratlam 109 cases, Barwani 104 cases and Katni 166 cases.