Chandigarh | Jagran News Desk: A weekend curfew was imposed in Chandigarh on Friday by the local administration across the union territory (UT) amid the alarming spike in coronavirus cases. In its guidelines, the Chandigarh administration said that all non-essential services will stay closed in the city till Monday at 5 am, adding that the order will come into effect from Friday 10 pm.

The Chandigarh administration further said that the National Defence Academy (NDA) and other exams won't be affected and students will be able to travel by showing their admit cards. It also said that the vaccination program in the city will continue during the weekend curfew.

Coronavirus cases have been rising in Chandigarh alarmingly over the past few days, forcing the local administration to impose a night curfew and curbs on restaurants, hotels, shops and malls. The Chandigarh administration has also warned that a lockdown will be imposed in the city if cases continue to rise.

"A lockdown cripples the economy as it impacts livelihoods of people. Decisions on lockdown are taken in war rooms only after conducting discussions with experts. We are keeping an eye on neighbouring states too. If cases continue to rise then the option of lockdown cannot be ruled out," news agency ANI quoted Chandigarh administrator adviser Manoj Parida as saying.

"At a point, we had reduced daily cases to 20, which has now gone up to 350-400 cases. Primarily, this is due to the number of tests we are conducting. So far, we have conducted 3 lakh tests against a population of 12 lakh," he added.

Currently, Chandigarh has over 32,000 coronavirus cases while more than 400 have succumbed to the infections. Authorities fear that the new UK variant is the case behind the spike in cases in the city. As per the PGI hospital, 70 per cent of the samples in Chandigrah UK variant of COVID-19 while 20 per cent had the 681-H mutant.

"The Department of Virology, PGIMER, Chandigarh, had sent 60 positive samples of Covid-19 to the National Centre for Diseases Control (NCDC) in New Delhi in March," news agency IANS quoted PGI hospital director Jagat Ram as saying.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma