The Bihar government has announced a 16-day-long lockdown with bare exceptions in the state beginning 16 July to put a check on the “alarming surge” in positive cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Justifying the decision, the Nitish Kumar government noted that the total number of positive cases in the state is nearing the 20,000-mark, with 1,432 new cases today, taking the toll to 18,853.
The crisis management group of the state government today met to take stock of the situation. The government followed it with a message that this fresh lockdown was “inevitable” and “urgent” to contain the further spread of the pandemic in the state.
Restrictions in Bihar: 16-31 July
1. Reminiscent of the first phase of the nationwide lockdown, offices of the Government of India, its autonomous or subordinate offices and public corporations shall remain closed in Bihar — except for the security forces, public utilities, disaster management, power generation and post offices allowed to function with the minimum number of employees.
2. Offices of the state government, its autonomous or subordinate officers and public corporations shall remain closed too. Security forces, fire and emergency, disaster management, elections, public utilities, food and civil supplies, agriculture, animal husbandry, municipal bodies, forest officers, offices of social welfare are exempted from this restriction.
3. Commercial and private establishments shall not operate in the period except shops and services related to food, grocery and agriculture inputs along with banks, IT and related services, print and electronic media, internet, telecommunication, e commerce, petrol pumps, power generation etc, which are exempted.
4. Restaurants may open but only to exercise the home-delivery option.
5. The Bihar government has suspended all transport services for the period, except air and rail transport, taxis, auto-rickshaws, private vehicles for permitted activities, essential service providers, business transportation vehicles.
6. Industrial establishments may function provided they strictly exercise necessary precaution and social distancing measures.
7. All educational, training, research and coaching institutions etc will continue to be closed.
8. The Bihar government has closed all places of worship for public participation too. It is allowing no religious congregation. There is no exception to this rule.
9. All social, political, academic, entertainment, sports, cultural and religious gatherings and functions are prohibited in the period. If stadiums must open, they cannot have spectators.
10. The state government has debarred district magistrates from diluting the restrictions but can enforce additional curbs as per their assessment of the situation locally.
11. All medical and essential services will remain out of the purview of restrictions during the all-Bihar lockdown.