Indore/Bhopal, April 3 (IANS) The COVID-19 positive cases continue to rise unabated in Madhya Pradesh, touching 121, a spike of 21 cases in 24 hours, even as health workers are leaving no stone unturned in the fight against the pandemic.

Indore alone has recorded a total of 89 cases so far, with 14 cases since Thursday. Health authorities on Friday indicated that the state government might extend the lockdown period if there is no improvement in the situation.

A 36-year-old man tested positive for the coronavirus in Chhindwara, which was the first case in this district, Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Atul Singh said.

The man working with a state government department in Indore arrived in Chhindwara on March 19, before the lockdown.

Meanwhile, the National Security Act (NSA) was slapped against four persons who had instigated an attack on Health Department personnel in Indore on Thursday.

The government said that 23 people belonging to the minority community in two districts were arrested for lockdown violation. The arrests were made in Agar-Malwa and Dewas for alleged defiance of section 144 CrPC and engaging in unlawful and “dangerous” acts related to the spread of the coronavirus.

Twelve of them were arrested in Agar-Malwa district and the rest in Dewas on Thursday. All of them have been quarantined for 14 days.

However, none of them took part in the religious congregation in Nizamuddin area in Delhi, police officials clarified.

“They are the residents of Delhi and came to the district on March 10. They did not inform the authorities about their stay and violated section 144 of the CrPC (banning assembly of 5 or more persons) by staying together,” he added.

The other 11 persons arrested in Dewas were also charged under several sections, District Superintendent of Police Krishnaveni Desavattu said.

Of them, 10 are from Jaipur, who were moving from place to place in the district without informing the authorities, and a local resident who gave them shelter, she added.

They came to Dewas district, which is under curfew, for religious work, Desavatu said. All of them have been quarantined for 14 days.

On Thursday, a one km area around Rahamaniya Mosque in Aishbagh and Ahata Rustam Khan Mosque in Shamala Hills were declared containment areas due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Bhopal.

Qazi Syed Mushtaq Ali Nadvi of Bhopal said that due to the coronavirus, the decision for a lockdown is for our protection. “I appeal to Muslim brethren to offer prayers at home instead of mosques. Only the Imam-Mu’azin will offer Namaaz in the mosques.”

Nadvi said even the prayers for Shab-e-Baaraat that falls a few days later should be offered at home.

On Friday an IAS officer, a top official of the ambitious Ayushman scheme of the government and four others in Bhopal were reported positive. Of them three are Tablighi Jamaat members from Myanmar and one from Bhubaneswar in Odisha.

Vijay Kumar, Managing Director of the Madhya Pradesh Health Corporation and CEO of Madhya Pradesh Ayushman Bharat, also tested positive for coronavirus.

The figures for corona positive cases in the state has touched 121. Indore recorded 89, Bhopal-Jabalpur 9 each, Ujjain 6, Chhindwara and Khargone one each, Gwalior-Shivpuri-Morena two each.

The state has also recorded eight deaths due to the virus, five in Indore, two in Ujjain and one in Khargone.

–IANS

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