Maha: Stricter curbs in three districts amid rise in COVID-19 cases

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(Eds: Changing headline, updating copy with quotes) Mumbai, May 4 (PTI) Strict curbs will be imposed in Sangli, Satara and Kolhapur districts of western Maharashtra amid the rise in COVID-19 cases, an official said on Tuesday.

State Water Resources Minister Jayant Patil on Tuesday announced a strict eight-day lockdown in Sangli district from the midnight of May 5 in view of the rising number of COVID 19 cases.

Patil, who is also the guardian minister of the district, said the region had recorded 1,568 COVID-19 cases and 40 casualties on Monday.

There was no option, but to impose a complete lockdown to save lives, he said.

'After discussions with the district administration, it has been decided to go for a complete lockdown for eight days from midnight of May 5. There is shortage of oxygen and medicines in the district, and it is necessary to break the chain,' Patil said, adding that only essential services will be exempted.

Meanwhile, the administration in Satara district on Tuesday announced stricter restrictions for a week to contain the spread of coronavirus in the region.

As per the fresh curbs, shops selling essential commodities such as milk, groceries, vegetables and fruits will remain closed and only home delivery of these items will be permitted.

Under the earlier guidelines, shops selling essentials were allowed to operate from 7 am to 11 am in the district.

'In view of the rise in COVID-19 cases, a decision has been taken to make the lockdown stricter in the district. As per the new restrictions, shops selling essential commodities such as milk, groceries, vegetables and fruits will remain shut, and only home delivery of these items will be permitted till 11 pm,' said Ramchandra Shinde, officiating collector, Satara district.

The restrictions will remain in place in Satara till May 10, it was stated.

Shop owners selling essential commodities will have to obtain passes for delivery boys from the administration, the official said.

Medical shops will remain open from 8 am to 8 pm, while chemists attached to hospitals will operate round the clock, he said.

'Shops selling agriculture-related products will be allowed to remain open till 11 am,' the official added.

Similarly, the administration in Kolhapur has imposed certain curbs for 10 days starting from 11 am on May 5 till May 13, an official said.

The authorities have urged citizens not to step out of their homes unnecessarily and opt for home deliveries of essential commodities, he said.

Satara has been reporting 2,500 COVID-19 cases per day over the last few days and the positivity rate in the district stands at 35 per cent, while Kolhapur is seeing a daily tally of 800 to 1,000 cases. PTI SPK MR ARU ARU