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HC orders lockdown in Lucknow, Allahabad, Kanpur Nagar, Varanasi, Gorakhpur; State refuses to impose it

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New Delhi, Apr 19: Amid COVID-19 surge, the Allahabad High Court directed Uttar Pradesh government on Monday to impose lockdown a week-long lockdown in Lucknow, Allahabad, Kanpur Nagar, Varanasi and Gorakhpur. till 26 April. The government, however, said there will be no "complete lockdown" in the cities for now.

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A two-judge bench comprising justices Siddhartha Varma and Ajit Kumar passed the lockdown order on a Public Interest Litigation on the condition of quarantine centres in the state and treatment of coronavirus patients.

"We are of the considered view that in given scenario of present time if people are restrained from going outside their homes for a week in the first instance, the current chain of spread of COVID infection can be broken and this will also give some respite to the frontline medical and health workers." the bench observed.

"Accordingly, we are passing the directions in respect of cities of Prayagraj (Allahabad), Lucknow, Varanasi, Kanpur Nagar and Gorakhpur and we direct the government to strictly enforce them forthwith," it said.

"All establishments be it government or private, except financial institutions and financial departments, medical and health services, industrial and scientific establishments, essential services including municipal functions, and public transport, shall remain closed till 26th April, 2021. The judiciary will, however, function on its own discretion," the bench said.

The state has witnessed a spurt in coronavirus cases over the past few weeks.

Responding to the order, Uttar Pradesh Additional Chief Secretary, Information, Navneet Sehgal said strict curbs are necessary to control the spread of the virus and that the government has taken several steps in that direction.

However, he said, alongside saving lives, protecting livelihoods is also important.

"Therefore, there will be no complete lockdown in the cities for now. People are automatically closing many places," he said.

He did not say whether the government intends to move the Supreme Court against the HC order

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