Maharashtra likely to extend lockdown till May 15
The Maharashtra government has decided to extend the full lockdown, likely to be another 15 days — till May 15. A decision to extend the lockdown was taken in the state cabinet meeting on Wednesday but the duration is yet to be decided. The state government is expected to issue an order to this effect in next two days.
“The issue of extending lockdown was discussed in the state cabinet meeting and all the ministers were of the view that it should be extended to break the transmission chain. It is likely to be extended by 15 days, but the decision on the number of days will be taken by April 30,” said state health minister Rajesh Tope.
He was talking to reporters after a state cabinet meeting held on Wednesday. The ongoing lockdown is ending on May 1 at 7am.
Tope also said the lockdown has helped in stabilisation of daily Covid-19 cases. “Lockdown has brought stability in cases to some extent as there were concerns that daily figures will cross the 70,000 mark, which is not happening as of now. The daily cases are hovering around the 60,000 mark. We are hoping that this was the peak of the second wave in the state and daily cases will start declining from here,” the health minister.
On April 22, the state government decided to impose full lockdown across Maharashtra. The decision was taken considering no decline in daily Covid-19 cases despite a partial lockdown that was imposed in the state on April 14.
Currently, people can’t step out, unless they need medical attention or are working in an essential sector or want to buy essential commodities that, too, under restricted timings — between 7am and 11am. While local train and metro train travel have been restricted to essential sectors, other public transport modes such as buses have been allowed to ply but at 50% of the sitting capacity. Stricter curbs have been imposed on inter-district or inter-city travel, including 14-day quarantine. Attendance in government and exempted-category offices have also been reduced to 15%, while those coming under essential category have been allowed to work at maximum 50% capacity.
“Daily cases are not going up, but they are also not coming down, which is a cause for concern for all of us. The same was discussed in the cabinet meeting and it was decided that the lockdown will have to be extended else things may go out of control,” said a senior minister, requesting anonymity.
The health minister also said the situation will come under control in less time if people will start following Covid protocols strictly. “Besides, the state government has also decided to bring herd immunity in the people by undertaking a large-scale vaccination drive in the state,” he added.