New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Uttar Pradesh government has decided to compete seal psrts of 15 districts across the state, which was worst-hit by the COVID-19 outbreak, till April 15 to check the spread of virus, which has so far claimed three lives in the state.  

The 15 districts are Lucknow, Agra, Ghaziabad, Gautambudh Nagar (Noida), Kanpur, Varanasi, Shamli, Meerut, Bareilly, Bulandshahar, Firozabad, Maharajganj, Sitapur, Saharanpur and Basti.

The Uttar Pradesh government said that only hotspots will be sealed till April 15, adding that lockdown will be enforced more strictly in districts where more than 6 positive cases have been reported.

"15 districts - including Noida, Ghaziabad, Meerut, Lucknow, Agra, Shamli, Saharanpur - which have viral load of COVID-19, to be sealed. Only home delivery and medical teams will be allowed there. It's being done to prevent community spread,as numbers are high," said Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary Rajendra Kumar Tiwari.

Coronavirus cases have been reported from 37 districts of Uttar Pradesh with the number climbing to 326 on Wednesday. Of the total cases, 166 are linked to the Tablighi Jamaat. So far, the UP authorities have identified 1,600 people associated with the Jamaat. Of them, 1,200 have been quarantined.

The state has so far reported three coronavirus deaths, one each from Basti, Meerut and Varanasi.

The move comes amid reports that several state governments, including Uttar Pradesh, have requested the Centre to extend the 21-day pan-India lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to control the spread of COVID-19 virus. 

A decision on the extension of lockdown is expected by this weekend after PM Modi's scheduled video-conference meeting with chief ministers on Saturday. 

The death toll due to the novel coronavirus rose to 149 and the number of cases to 5,194 in the country on Wednesday, according to the Union Health Ministry. However, a PTI tally of figures reported by various states as on Tuesday 9.45 p.m. showed 5,192 testing positive across the country and at least 162 deaths.

There has been a lag in the Union Health Ministry figures, compared to the numbers announced by different states, which officials attribute to procedural delays in assigning the cases to individual states.

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta