Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Tuesday urged people returning to the hill state, especially from states with heavy caseloads, to self-quarantine at their homes to contain the spread of COVID-19.
The state government took steps to curb the spread of the virus, including reducing the regular six-day week for government employees to five days a week.
The decision to urge returnees to self-quarantine comes amid reports that a number of HP residents are returning from other states, including Delhi and Maharashtra, after lockdowns were imposed there.
Talking to the media here, Thakur said the HP government had last year quarantined for up to 14 days those people who had returned to the hill state from other states.
The returnees should now either self-quarantine at their homes or get themselves tested for COVID-19 to contain the spread of the virus, he said.
Meanwhile, the state government took several steps, including introducing a five-day working week, to contain the spread of the virus in the state. Earlier, the state government had a six-day week ending on Saturday.
Thakur said that government offices would be closed on Saturday. They will be open from Monday to Friday with a strength of 50 per cent.
The chief minister said not more than 50 people would be allowed to take part in social gatherings including marriages. This will be applicable for both indoor and outdoor gatherings, he added. Earlier, 200 people were allowed for outdoor gatherings.
Political rallies will also not be held, he said, adding that small meetings with less than 50 people can be organised.
Thakur indicated that a decision to close religious places in the state might also be taken on April 23. Devotees have been allowed only to pay obeisance at temples in view of the Navratras, he added.