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There will be no lockdown in five Uttar Pradesh cities for now. The Supreme Court has put a stay on the order by the Allahabad High Court.

“There shall be an interim stay on the order of the high court," a bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde said while hearing the state government's plea against the order passed on Monday.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Uttar Pradesh, said the state has taken several steps to contain the spread of coronavirus but to “lockdown, five cities by a judicial order may not be the right approach".

Allahabad, Lucknow, Varanasi, Kanpur, Nagar and Gorakhpur were the cities in which the high court had directed curbs.

Uttar Pradesh government had moved Supreme Court challenging the Allahabad High Court order on imposing lockdown in its five cities, on the ground that the High Court did not have the domain to issue such kind of directions.

The high court had directed the Uttar Pradesh government to impose strict restrictions including the closing of malls, shopping complexes and restaurants till April 26 in five cities, but stopped short of calling it a "complete lockdown".

The high court had said these curbs are "nowhere close to a complete lockdown".

The Uttar Pradesh government has already announced restrictions on gatherings of five or more people in religious places for effective control of the Covid-19 pandemic during Navratri and Ramzan. Uttar Pradesh has recorded 18,021 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, the state health department informed on Tuesday.

On Monday, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's office had said, "There is no need to impose a complete lockdown. Weekend lockdowns will continue to curb the spread of COVID-19."

As per the union health ministry, there are currently 2,08,523 active cases in Uttar Pradesh. So far, 6,61,311 recoveries and 9,997 deaths have been reported in the state.

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