The Allahabad High Court on Monday came down hard upon the Uttar Pradesh government over the Covid-19 situation in the state and ordered lockdown-type restrictions in five cities till April 26.

Issuing the lockdown-type orders for Prayagraj, Lucknow, Varanasi, Kanpur Nagar and Gorakhpur, the High Court Bench comprising Justices Ajit Kumar and Siddhartha Varma slammed the state administration.

Pulling up the Yogi Adityanath government, the bench noted that the scenario is such that in Government Hospitals, admission of patients to ICUs is largely being done on the recommendation of VIPs. 

"Supply of anti-viral drug Remdesivir is being provided only on the recommendation of VIPs. Even the state chief minister is in isolation in Lucknow," the court observed.

"VIPs and VVIPs are getting their RT-PCR report within 12 hours, whereas, the ordinary citizen is kept waiting for such reports for two to three days and thus, spreading further infection to other members of his/her family," the court added.

In a scathing indictment of the state's coronavirus response, the court noted that the medical system could collapse if urgent measures are not taken.

The bench further said that if the popular government has its own political compulsions in not checking public movements during the pandemic, the court cannot be a mere passive spectator.

"Public health is the topmost priority and call of the moment and any complacency of any degree today will cause havoc to people. We cannot shirk away from our constitutional duty to save innocent people from the pandemic which is spreading due to the negligence of a few."

The court directed the following:

* All establishments -- government or private -- except financial institutions and financial departments, medical and health services, industrial and scientific establishments, essential services including municipal functions, and public transport, shall remain closed.

* All shopping complexes and malls shall remain closed.

* All grocery and commercial shops, excluding medical shops, with more than three workers shall remain closed.

* All hotels, restaurants and even the small eating points shall remain closed.

* Educational institutions and other institutions relating to other disciplines and activities be it government, semi-government or private shall remain closed.

*  No social functions and gatherings, including marriage functions, shall be permitted.

* All religious activities in public of any kind will remain suspended; all religious establishments will remain closed.

* All hawkers including fruits and vegetable vendors, milk vendors and bread vendors, shall go off the road by 11 AM every day.

* Containment zones shall be notified every day in two leading Hindi and English newspapers.

* All public movements on roads would remain restricted completely.