Nagpur | Jagran News Desk: The Nagpur district administration on Saturday extended the lockdown in the city till March 31 in wake of the rising coronavirus cases across Maharashtra. Dr Nitin Raut, Nagpur Guardian Minister, however, said that all essential shop, including vegetable and milk stores, will remain open in the city.

Raut, while addressing the media, also said that restaurants and bars can function till 7 pm while online food delivery will be allowed until 11 pm. He further said that all schools, colleges and educational institutions will remain closed till March 31 and scheduled exams would be conducted as per the necessary COVID-19 protocols.

Coronavirus cases have been rising in Nagpur since February, following which a seven-day lockdown was imposed in the district from March 15 to March 21. On Saturday, the city reported nearly 3,700 fresh coronavirus cases and 29 deaths, taking Nagpur's caseload to 1.89 lakh and toll to 4,592.

While the lockdown has been extended in Nagpur till March 31, the Maharashtra government on Friday issued fresh coronavirus-induced guidelines to tackle the fresh COVID-19 surge in the state. The guidelines state that all private offices will function at 50 per cent capacity and banned all kinds of public gatherings.

"Drama halls and Auditoriums not to be used for any religious/ cultural/ social/ political/ cultural gathering..... In case of violation of this order, concerned drama theatre/auditorium shall have to remain close for a period until the Covid-19 pandemic stays," the guidelines stated.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray also expressed concerns over the rise in coronavirus cases and said that "lockdown is an option" if the state is unable to check the spread of the infection. "I see lockdown as an option going ahead. But I trust people of the state to cooperate (and follow the COVID-19 norms voluntarily) like the last time," said Thackeray at a press conference, as reported by news agency PTI.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma