Maharashtra extends lockdown till May 15
Maharashtra government on Thursday formally announced the extension of lockdown for a fortnight after May 1. The state, on April 21, had restricted movement of people till May 1, but with around 60,000 Covid-19 cases being recorded daily, it extended the lockdown till May 15.
On Wednesday, the state cabinet had in-principle decided to extend the lockdown. State health minister Rajesh Tope had said that all cabinet ministers had unanimously told the chief minister that the restrictions be extended by 15 days.
An order issued by chief secretary Sitaram Kunte said that the state is “continued to be threatened with the spread of Covid-19, and therefore it is “imperative to continue emergency measures to prevent and contain the spread of the virus”. It said, “The government finds it is necessary to continue the enforcement of the current restrictions throughout the state beyond 7am on May 1, 2021, till 7am on May 15, 2021, to break the chain of transmission effectively.”
During the lockdown, the restrictions that were imposed from April 22 will continue. These restrictions include reduced attendance in government and exempted category offices to 15%, local train travel has been restricted to the essential sector and stricter curbs have been imposed on inter-district and city travel. This would mean, people still can’t step out unless for medical reasons or to buy essential commodities (between 7am and 11am) or if they are working in the essential sector.
Health experts said that the decision was anticipated as the state is yet to bring down the daily Covid-19 cases. Though, some cities including Mumbai, Pune have seen some dip in cases. Maharashtra in the last two weeks has seen a minor decrease in cases, but it could be a fluctuation and not a trend, said Dr Subhash Salunkhe, former director-general of health services (Maharashtra) and advisor to the state on Covid.
According to data, a week after Maharashtra announced a lockdown from April 22, the weekly growth of Covid-19 infections has seen a dip. Between April 15 and April 21, the state recorded 387,972 cases, which came down to 378,554 between April 22 and April 28.
Over the last few days, the state’s daily cases are hovering around 62,000 and 66,000. Salunkhe further said that the state could continue to see similar daily figures for another week. “The decrease in cases in some pockets could be fluctuation. Maharashtra will see similar figures for another seven days or so before we see some decrease. The restrictions on people’s movement will gradually show impact in this week and the next,” he said.
Salunkhe, however, refused to comment on the state government projections for when the state will go past the second wave. “In the last wave, we have had a bad experience with these mathematical models. Nobody can fully predict the extent, but the state has geared up well,” he said.