Delta plus: Level 3 curbs in Maharashtra to contain COVID-19 spread

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Mumbai, Jun 25 (PTI) In view of cases of the Delta plus variant of COVID-19 emerging in Maharashtra, the state government on Friday announced 'state-level trigger' for imposing restrictions in administrative units irrespective of weekly positivity rate and oxygen bed occupancy percentage.

Weekly positivity rate regarding levels of restrictions will be determined on the basis of RT-PCR tests, and not rapid antigen or other tests, the state government said and described Delta plus as a variant of concern.

Restrictions in administrative units will remain at a level not below 3, according to new guidelines issued as part of a government notification which also calls for pushing for 70 per cent vaccination of eligible population in the state.

The move indicates tightening of restrictions to curb any surge in cases after some people were detected with the highly infectious Delta plus variant of coronavirus. Delta plus has been declared a variant of concern by the Centre.

The notification amends the five-level unlock plan announced by the Maharashtra government earlier this month.

Delta plus cases have been found in Ratnagiri, Jalgaon and some other districts of the state, requiring stricter curbs, the notification said.

State-level trigger means that irrespective of the weekly positivity rate and oxygen bed occupancy, level 3 restrictions will continue in administrative units till the district disaster management authority takes a call to withdraw them, according to the notification.

Essential shops and establishments can remain open till 4pm on all days in areas falling under level 3 of the five-step unlock plan. Non-essential shops and establishments can remain open till 4pm on weekdays, it said.

Restaurants will be allowed dine-in facility with 50 per cent capacity till 4pm on weekdays and takeaways and home deliveries after that, the notification said.

Use of suburban trains will be only for medical staff and personnel engaged in essential services, it said.

Gyms and salons will remain open till 4 pm at 50 per cent capacity, the government order said.

Level 3 curbs will be minimum and if they have to be lowered the disaster management authority will take a call, it said.

If there is an upward trend in number of coronavirus positive cases, the district disaster management authority will impose higher-level of restrictions, the order said.

Attempts must be made to achieve 70 per cent vaccination of eligible population and focus should on test, track and treat methodology to contain the spread of COVID-19, it said.

The government order said flying squads will enforce COVID-19-appropriate behaviour among people and impose fines for violations.

Earlier this month, Maharashtra had announced a five-step unlock plan after the deadly second wave of COVID-19 appeared to be ebbing. Under the plan, restrictions in cities and districts were decided according to the weekly positivity rate and oxygen bed occupancy. PTI MR RSY RSY

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