Varanasi: As more people started flouting COVID guidelines in marketplaces, the Uttar Pradesh government on Saturday imposed a weekend lockdown in Varanasi. A local person named Saurabh Dubey told news agency ANI that the market gets more crowded on weekends, that is why the market has been closed on Saturday-Sunday.Also Read - COVID Symptoms? Follow These Measures Immediately For Quick Recovery And Help Others From Getting Infected

Last week, the Uttar Pradesh government had decided to allow places of worship to open even during the weekend curfew. However, not more than five devotees were allowed inside the religious places. Prior to that, the state government had allowed religious places to function only from Monday to Friday. Also Read - India's Daily COVID Tally Crosses 13k Mark, Health Minister Mandaviya to Chair Crucial Meeting on Rising Cases

Last month, the state government had relaxed the lockdown restrictions in districts where active cases have dropped below 600. However, the weekend curfew and night curfew across the state continued. Also Read - Mood Swings, Rashes and Stomach Ache: Long Covid Symptoms in Infected Kids Can Last For 2 Months. Deets Here

Notably, over 55 districts had fewer than 600 active Covid-19 cases and the state government said stricter curfew regulations will be imposed in another 20 districts which still have more than the minimum threshold in active cases.

On Saturday, Uttar Pradesh recorded 40 more COVID-19 fatalities, taking the death toll to 22,443, while 173 new cases pushed the infection tally to 17,05,384.

As per updates, 11 deaths were reported from Allahabad, 10 from Lucknow, and five from Shahjahanpur among other places. Of the new cases, 14 were reported from Gautam Buddh Nagar and 11 from Lucknow among others.

In the meantime, the genome sequencing of 100 samples has started at the KGMU, Lucknow from Saturday for in-depth investigation of COVID-19 patients.

Addressing a high-level meeting, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath stressed on increasing the testing facility in the medical institutions of Varanasi and Noida on the lines of KGMC and RML, Lucknow and asked the officials to seek cooperation from the private sector, if required.

The government has also instructed the state health department to adopt a proactive and multifaceted approach to formulate a stringent action plan in all districts to tackle the Delta Plus variant that could lead to a possible third Covid wave, which is feared to affect the children.