Maharashtra is likely to announce a complete lockdown from April 15 for at least two weeks in view of alarming rise in coronavirus cases, even though daily count on Monday saw a slight dip. According to sources, the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra government is scheduled to make the announcement by Tuesday evening. Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray has been holding back-to-back meetings with the Covid-19 task force, cabinet, apart from the all-party meet that he chaired on Saturday to deliberate on lockdown options. All eyes are now set on CM Uddhav’s address scheduled for 8:30pm.
According to Guardian Minister Aslam Sheikh, guidelines for the Maharashtra lockdown, as part of its ‘Break the Chain’ campaign, are being readied. An announcement in this regard is expected today. However, Sheikh has clarified that there won’t be a sudden clampdown on movement of people and that government is working on mitigation efforts, like increasing number of beds in hospitals, in view of the alarming coronavirus situation in the state.
Officials privy to the Task Force meeting said that while Thackeray favoured only an eight-day lockdown, while medical experts pushed for 14 days for Maharashtra to successfully emerge from the claws of the deadly pandemic whose second wave is turning out to be more virulent.
Maharashtra has been the worst-hit state in India and has been topping the charts ever since the pandemic clutched the country in March 2020. Earlier this month, Maharashtra government announced slew of curbs to control the spread, including complete weekend lockdowns.
Maharashtra on Monday reported 51,751 fresh coronavirus positive cases, a day after logging the highest 63,294 infections, while 258 people died, the state health department said. The state's cumulative case tally now stands at 34,58,996 and the toll at 58,245, it said.
Maharashtra is now left with 5,64,746 active cases, the department said in a release. Mumbai saw 6,893 new cases and 43 fatalities, taking the tally to 5,27,391 and the toll to 12,066.
While initially the government had been averting a complete lockdown, the decision looked inevitable as it continued to report nearly 60,000 coronavirus cases daily. Among other slew of measures to take control of the coronavirus situation, the government said three more jumbo hospitals for covid care will come up in Mumbai in a week’s time. The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai said certain 4 and 5 star hotels shall be converted into CCC2 (Covid Care Centre for positive patients) which will be run by professionals from major private hospitals to make large number of beds available to new needy patients.
The state government is also planning to restrict the general public from using Mumbai local train services in order to curb the spread of the deadly virus.