As the positivity rate dropped nears 10% in Maharashtra, state health minister Rajesh Tope on Saturday dropped a hint that the government might consider easing some of the Covid-19 restrictions in a phased manner after June 1. Authorities claimed that they have adequate health infrastructure and medicines.
“The government will assess the situation in the last week of May. If the positivity rate falls below 10% and the number of active cases comes down, the state may consider easing some restrictions,” Tope told The Times of India.
Keeping the third wave in mind, the government would take a cautious approach and chief minister Uddhav Thackeray would announce the final decision. The state authorities may slowly consider easing restrictions if the number of active cases go down and 50% of hospital beds are vacant, Tope added.
Maharashtra has been reporting the highest positivity rate along with other states for weeks and now the state has finally managed to get its positivity rate below 15%. According to the central government health ministry’s presentation, the state’s positivity rate on Saturday was 12%.
State surveillance expert Dr Pradeep Awate said the positivity rate in the state was expected to reduce further. “Present restrictions are just a pause button and collateral damages would be much more if we continue to be closed longer. As the transmission decreases, we need to open up in a steady and cautious manner,” he said.
On April 5, the state government imposed lockdown-like curbs which were made more stringent on April 15.
The Centre in its briefing on Saturday said eight states, including Maharashtra, had more than one lakh Covid cases in the country. Karnataka led the list with 5.14 lakh cases, followed by Maharashtra with 3.67 lakh cases and Kerala with 3.06 lakh cases.
The positivity rate is currently more than 10% in 23 districts in Maharashtra. Tamil Nadu led the tally with 37 districts, followed by Karnataka’s 29 districts. The positivity rate is over 10% in 28 districts in Odisha and 24 in Rajasthan.
On Saturday, 18 states in the country had more than 15% positivity rate. A total of 14 states, including Maharashtra (12.04%), had a positivity rate in the range of 5-15% and four states had positivity less than 5%