Jammu: Amid alarming surge in COVID cases, complete weekend restrictions on non-essential movement were imposed late Saturday evening across J&K.
Restrictions were in compliance with the directive issued by the Chief Secretary,who is also the chairman of State Executive Committee of the J&K Department ofDisaster Management, Relief, Rehabilitation & Reconstruction, after a detailedreview of the current COVID-19 situation in J&K late Friday evening.
“Night curfew shall continue to remain in force in all districts from 9 pm to 6 amwith complete restriction on non-essential movement. There shall also becomplete restriction on non-essential movement during weekends in entire J&K,”SEC had directed.
All the Deputy Commissioners, pursuant to these directives, in the morningimposed fresh restrictions, under Section 144 CrPC/section 34 of the DisasterManagement Act 2005 and Epidemic Act, 1897, on “non-essential movement during weekends” in their respective districts “with effect from January 15, 2022till further orders.”
However, sudden imposition of restrictions created confusion among people andthe business community at many places.
However, the civil authorities incoordination with the law enforcing authorities roped in business bodies to clearthe air that it was not a curfew or total lockdown per se and restrictions were on“non-essential movement.”
“There shall be no restrictions on transport, essential services or activities andhome deliveries during the weekend in Jammu.
However, the public is stronglyurged to stay at home to avoid any inconvenience,” District Magistrate JammuAnshul Garg specified.Cue was well taken by Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry as it tweeted, “Due to the emerging situation amid a surge in the COVID cases, it’s a humbleappeal to all the shopkeepers, business houses of Jammu to shut down theirpremises from 4 pm onwards today till 6 am on Monday.”
“Medical shops, groceries, eateries and those dealing with essential or perishablegoods may continue delivering services as per government Standard OperatingProcedures (SOPs),” earlier Chamber had stated.
After Chamber appealed to all the shopkeepers, business houses to shut downpremises from 4.00 pm (on Saturday evening) till Monday morning up to 6.00 pm,DC Jammu reciprocated with an appreciative note on his official Twitter handle.
“Appreciate the appeal by @ChamberJammu for voluntary closing of shops &business establishments in #Jammu over weekends to restrict non-essentialmovement. Shall greatly help us in breaking the chain of transmission as thepositivity rate is increasing sharply. #StayHomeStaySafe,” tweeted Anshul Garg(@hello_anshul).Later in the evening, in many localities, law enforcing authorities used PublicAddress Systems urging the people to observe restrictions and avoid non-essential movement.
At some places, they could be seen even telling shopkeepersto down shutters by 4.00 pm.
By evening, roads were almost deserted with all business establishments, exceptmedical shops, closed in most of the districts.
As there was no strict restriction ontransport movement, some places witnessed traffic-jams particularly during peakhours in the evening.
Meanwhile, Udhampur District Magistrate Indu Kanwal Chib also appealed to thepeople to follow “self-curfew” during weekends to break the chain.
“We’ll have touse “vaccination”, “masking” and “crowd-management” all together with selfrestriction to break the COVID chain,” she added while expressing concern overan alarming spike in cases in the district in the last few days.
District Magistrates of Ramban, Doda, Kathua, Samba, Rajouri, Poonch, Kishtwarand Reasi also issued orders imposing fresh weekend restrictions.
Earlier late Friday evening, as part of its COVID related restrictions and guidelines,SEC also directed that all efforts would be made by authorities through activeinvolvement of PRIs, community leaders, Market Associations and Federations toreduce the rate of transmission within the Union Territory.
All Deputy Commissioners were asked to intensify testing and ensure fullutilisation of available RT-PCR and RAT capacities. “There shall be no drop intesting levels.
Chief Medical Officers of all districts shall submit a daily reportregarding the utilisation of available RT-PCR capacities to the District Magistratesconcerned.
Besides, District Magistrates shall also go for capacity expansion of theRT-PCR testing as per the requirement,” it was instructed.“Enforcement of COVID Appropriate Behaviour (CAB) is critical in determining theneed for additional restrictions. The District Magistrates (Chairperson, DDMAs) ofrespective Districts of J&K shall adopt a zero-tolerance policy towards noncompliance of COVID Appropriate Behaviour (CAB) and shall ensure due actionagainst defaulters under relevant sections of the Disaster Management Act,Epidemic Act and the Indian Penal Code,” it was ordered.
The DMs were asked to constitute inspection teams of district officers to checkwhether the instructions contained herein for enforcement of COVID AppropriateBehaviour (CAB) were being implemented by the concerned with dueresponsibility.
Further, the DMs were instructed to constitute joint teams of Police and Executive Magistrates for intensifying enforcement of COVIDAppropriate Behaviour and ensure no violator was let off.
All the government departments and offices were asked to minimise conductingin-person meetings or interactions etc. All Administrative Secretaries and Head ofthe Departments of institutions were also instructed to ensure optimal use ofvirtual mode for conducting official meetings etc.
All colleges, schools, polytechnics, ITIs, coaching centres for Civil Services orEngineering or NEET etc have already asked to adopt online medium of teaching.There would be no in-person teaching.