Maharashtra relief and rehabilitation minister Vijay Wadettiwar on Saturday said that the state government may impose a 12-hour night curfew, “between 5 pm and 5 am”, in regions in case the spike in Covid-19 cases continues. A meeting will be held with Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in Mumbai next week to finalise the decision.
The state government is considering a 12-hour night curfew and a harsh penalty of Rs 1 lakh on wedding halls that are flouting Covid-19 norms and allowing over 50 people.
“The entire Vidarbha region is witnessing a spike in cases. Even in Nagpur, over 750 cases were reported on Friday. The government has already declared a partial lockdown in Amravati, Wardha and Yavatmal. If fresh cases jump, the government needs to take strict measures like a night curfew,” the told The Times of India.
“We will ask district administrations, including collectors and municipal commissioners, to take a final call on lockdowns depending on conditions in their areas. During curfew, all places like marriage halls, markets, cinema halls and others where crowds gather would be closed. The surge is due to a majority of people becoming careless and not following Covid-19 protocols like wearing masks and maintaining distancing,” Wadettiwar said.
“We are also considering regulating vegetable markets. Such places may be allowed to remain open from 10 am to 5 pm with restrictions,” he said.
However, public health experts have opposed the move. Dr Subhash Salunke, advisor to the state on Covid control, told the TOI, “The rise is limited to some clusters; not every area is affected. Administrators need to ensure stricter vigilance only in these clusters. Lockdowns would prove counterproductive. The districts of Amravati and Yavatmal recently imposed restrictions with the former enforcing a weekend lockdown to prevent overcrowding in marketplaces. Such brief lockdown spells do not help to stop the spread and local administrations, instead of enforcing wider lockdowns, should focus on micro containment zones where curbs should stay in place for more than 10 days, at least.”
Meanwhile, Mumbai mayor Kishori Pednekar on Saturday threatened a lockdown in the financial capital. In a statement, the Union Health Ministry said in the last seven days, Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh recorded an "upsurge" in daily new cases. Chhattisgarh reported 259 daily new cases in the last 24 hours.