COVID-19: Smartphone without ‘Aarogya Setu’ app will draw punishment for user in Gautam Buddh Nagar

Noida (UP): Not having the ‘Aarogya Setu’ app on smartphones while out in a public place in Noida or Greater Noida will be considered a violation of the coronavirus-forced lockdown and attract punishment, according to new guidelines issued by the police. Action will also be taken against people going outdoors without a face mask or spitting in public places, according to the police in Gautam Buddh Nagar in western Uttar Pradesh.

Aarogya Setu is a mobile application developed by the central government to connect essential health services with the people over the fight against COVID-19.

The app is aimed at augmenting the initiatives of the Centre, particularly the Department of Health, in proactively reaching out to and informing the users of the app regarding risks, best practices and relevant advisories pertaining to the containment of COVID-19.

The district police had on Sunday announced extending the Criminal Procedure Code section 144, which bars assembly of four or more people, till May 17, as the central government extended the nationwide lockdown by another two weeks in a bid to check the spread of the virus.

“Spitting in public places will attract punishment along with a fine. Not wearing a face mask in public places or offices will also be a punishable offence.

“If smartphone users do not have the ‘Aarogya Setu’ app installed on their mobile phones, then that will be punishable and considered a violation of the lockdown directions,” Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police, Law and Order, Ashutosh Dwivedi said.

During the lockdown period, political, social, religious, sports gatherings as well as protest marches and rallies will remain banned across Noida and Greater Noida, the official said in the order.

“The central government has extended the lockdown till May 17 in view of the coronavirus pandemic. Gautam Buddh Nagar has been identified as ‘red zone’ and hotspots have been identified here. During this duration, all guidelines of the lockdown are to be followed,” he said.

“During the period, political, religious or social, cultural gatherings will not be allowed, and protest rallies etc will remain banned. All places of worship will remain closed. People will not be allowed to gather outdoors on streets or in lanes and a two-yard distance should be maintained by those out,” Dwivedi said in a statement.

“No organization/manager will be allowed to call a meeting of five or more than five people. Not more than 50 people will be allowed during wedding events, and not more than 20 at funerals during the lockdown period and social distancing has to be followed even during these events,” the officer said.

Gautam Buddh Nagar, which falls in the ‘Red Zone’, has 34 containment zones and has recorded 179 positive cases of coronavirus so far, with 102 of these patients being cured and discharged from hospitals, according to official figures.

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