Srinagar: Restrictions on the movement and assembly of people in Kashmir to contain the spread of coronavirus remained in force on Wednesday as the number of COVID-19 positive cases in the union territory has surged to 55, officials said.

They said tight curbs have been put in place across the valley to minimize the movement of the people in order to contain the spread of the infection.

Most of the roads in the valley have been sealed off and barriers erected at several places by security forces to check the unwanted movement of the people and to enforce the lockdown for containing the spread of the infection, the officials said.

The administration has asked the people to cooperate with it and warned of action against those violating prohibitory orders.

Several persons have been arrested across the valley in the past few days as police have taken action against those violating prohibitory orders.

The markets across the valley have been shut and public transport off the roads with only pharmacies and groceries allowed to open, the officials said.

Educational institutions across Kashmir have been closed, while all public places including gymnasiums, parks, clubs and restaurants have been shut down more than a week before the nationwide lockdown announced by the Prime Minister.

While the Prime Minister announced the country-wide lockdown on the evening of March 24, the union territory administration here had on March 22 announced a lockdown across Jammu and Kashmir till 31 March as part of its efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The administration said essential services including healthcare personnel have been exempted from the restrictions.

District administrations have put in place a mechanism to ensure uninterrupted supplies and deliveries of essential services to the general public. Essential commodities will be home-delivered to the residents as part of the mechanism.

Restrictions were first imposed in many parts of the valley on March 19 to contain the spread of the virus infection. The measures were taken after a 67-year-old woman from Khanyar area of the city, who had returned on 16 March from Saudi Arabia after performing Umrah, tested positive for COVID-19 infection.

The total number of positive cases in the union territory has gone up to 55 as six new cases were detected on Tuesday.

Two patients both from the valley — have succumbed, while two one each Kashmir and Jammu — have recovered.

The administration on Tuesday declared 20 areas in Kashmir as red zones following detection of fresh cases of COVID-19 in the valley.

The 20 areas are in Bandipora, Pulwama, Ganderbal, Shopian, Srinagar and Budgam districts of Kashmir division. (PTI)