Port Blair, Aug 1 (PTI) Three more persons have died of COVID-19 in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, taking the toll to five in the Union Territory, while 120 fresh cases pushed the tally of coronavirus patients to 548, an official said on Saturday.

The authorities also decided to restrict flights from Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai at least till August 18 in view of the spike in COVID-19 cases in the archipelago where a complete lockdown at weekends was enforced from Saturday, he said.

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Two men, aged 57 and 70, and a 46-year-old woman succumbed to the disease while undergoing treatment at the GB Pant Hospital here, the official said.

"The 57-year-old man was a resident of Shore Point area in South Andaman and suffering from hypertension. The 70-year-old patient was from Junglighat area near here and the woman was residing at Phongy Chang locality in Port Blair. The new fatalities were reported in the past two days," the official of the health department said.

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Of the 120 fresh cases, 42 were detected on Thursday and 78 were found on Friday, he said.

"Sixty-six travellers are among the new patients and 54 have been found through contact tracing exercises," the official said.

The fresh infections have pushed the number of active cases in the islands to 329, while 214 people have recovered from the disease, he said.

Meanwhile, normal life came to a grinding halt in the Union Territory on Saturday as the Andaman and Nicobar administration enforced the weekend lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease.

Private vehicles were off the roads, while all business establishments and shops, barring those dealing with essential commodities, were shut. The airport in the city wore a deserted look.

Medicine shops and health establishments were allowed to remain open during the total shutdown at weekends.

Amid surging coronavirus cases in the Union Territory, the administration has decided to reduce the number of flights to and from the Port Blair airport to five from 14 per week and curb the movement of ships, Chief Secretary Chetan Sanghi said in a tweet.

Dairy Farm, Junglighat, Phoenix Bay areas in the capital were declared as containment zones, the official said, adding that the local administration has decided to convert many government guest houses to quarantine centres.

The authorities have also started taking steps to convert the Industrial Training Institute (ITI) hostel here to a 60-bedded hospital for treatment of coronavirus patients who are not critical, he said.

The local administration also plans to turn the ITI workshop into a 200-bedded hospital, he added.

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