A complete lockdown will be in place in Machilipatnam constituency from August 3 to 9 and shops, except those selling medicines and essentials, will remain open only between 6 and 9 am, Krishna district administration announced on Wednesday.

In a task force meeting chaired by Transport Minister Perni Venkataramaiah (Nani) in Machilipatnam on Wednesday, he urged people not to step out of their houses unless there is an emergency. The public can shop for essential commodities only between 6 and 9 am.

While shops dealing with fertilisers and agriculture equipment will also remain open, bank operations will be allowed from 7:30 to 10:30 am. In rural areas, relaxed timings will be extended till 11 am, subjected to the situation on or before August 3, he said. Revenue Divisional Officer NSK Khajavali informed that as many as 711 people tested positive for the virus in the revenue division.

“We have decided to ramp up the sample testing of asymptomatic and suspected patients during the week-long lockdown with the help of village/ward volunteers and ANMs,” he said. He said a 250-bed Covid hospital will be arranged at the district hospital along with a triage centre; four more ambulances will be added to the existing fleet and private school buses will be utilised for sample collection in rural areas.

The RDO further said APSRTC bus services will be suspended during the lockdown. For marriages and other functions, permission will be given only on August 5 and 8 as they are auspicious days, and identity cards will be issued to those permitted.

With regard to Bakrid festival to be celebrated on Saturday, he said permissions were given to mosques to hold prayers with participation of only 50 people and by strictly adhering to all Covid-19 guidelines.

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