SRINAGAR, Jammu and Kashmir 

Authorities in two districts of Kashmir have ordered a restriction on people’s movements between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. from Dec. 31 as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

An order issued by the deputy commissioner of Budgam district Wednesday night said the “health situation due to COVID-19 has given rise to serious concerns in the country, including the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.”

The order invokes a law that prevents the assembly of more than four people, which is often imposed when the government cracks down on anti-government protests.

Movement of people will be allowed only in cases of “extreme urgency, essential services and medical purposes,” the order says. A similar order has been issued for southern Anantnag district.

Because of sub-zero temperatures and the ongoing insurgency, night movement is already limited in Kashmir.

Jammu and Kashmir, with a population 12 million, has recorded 120,744 COVID-19 cases since March this year. A total of 1,879 people have died from the virus.

The Indian government has drawn flak for using COVID-19 lockdowns selectively in Jammu and Kashmir to control dissent brewing since Aug. 5 last year, when the disputed region was stripped of its political autonomy.

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