Maharashtra Extends Lockdown Till May 31 as Cases Cross 30,000, No Word on Relaxations Yet

Ahead of the Centre releasing guidelines for phase 4 of the Covid-19 lockdown, Maharashtra on Sunday decided to extend the lockdown till May 31.

Maharashtra Chief Secretary Ajoy Mehta has issued an order notifying extension of the lockdown, an official said. "The calibrated phase-wise relaxation/lifting of lockdown orders will be notified in due course," the order said.

The present lockdown was valid from May 2 to 17. "Lockdown 3.0 ends today. Lockdown 4.0 will come into effect on Monday and will be valid till May 31. There will be some relaxations in the fourth phase," he said.

"The green and orange zones will get more relaxations, in terms of starting more services. As of now only essential services are operational,” he said.

The decision is on expected lines as the state has reported the highest number of cases and deaths in the country so far. The state has so far reported 30,706 cases and 1175 deaths.

A senior minister earlier said it was unanimously agreed upon that the lockdown has to be extended in certain parts of the state, especially in red zones such as the Mumbai and Pune metropolitan regions, Malegaon and Solapur.

Following Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu also extended the lockdown the the end of this month and said no further relaxations will be given in 12 districts, including Chennai. However, 25 districts including Coimbatore, Salem and Erode will see certain relaxations in lockdown 4.0.

On Saturday, over 30 municipal areas were identified in 12 states where maximum restrictions are likely to be imposed as India registered nearly 91,000 Covid-19 cases, leaving behind China where the pandemic emerged.

The selected municipal areas are: Brihanmumbai or Greater Mumbai, Greater Chennai, Ahmedabad, Thane, Delhi, Indore, Pune, Kolkata, Jaipur, Nashik, Jodhpur, Agra, Tiruvallur, Aurangabad, Cuddalore, Greater Hyderabad, Surat, Chengalpattu, Ariyalur, Howrah, Kurnool, Bhopal, Amritsar, Villupuram, Vadodara, Udaipur, Palghar, Berhampur, Solapur and Meerut.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his address to the nation on Monday, had said that the lockdown 4.0 will have a "completely different form", with new rules. "No state wants complete withdrawal of lockdown but all want gradual resumption of economic activities," the official said

Gradual and need-based operations of the railways and domestic airlines are likely to be allowed from next week but full-fledged opening of the two sectors is unlikely to take place immediately.

Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka were among some states which were not in favour of complete resumption of train and air services, at least till May-end, the official said.

Lockdown was first announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 24 for 21 days in a bid to combat the coronavirus pandemic. It was first extended till May 3 and again till May 17.