Lockdown in Nagpur
Lockdown in Nagpur

Maharashtra sees over 15,000 Covid cases for 4th straight day, slaps stricter curbs

The state government has allowed only 50 people to attend weddings and 20 people to attend last rites
By Faisal Malik, Mumbai
UPDATED ON MAR 16, 2021 12:28 AM IST

Maharashtra on Monday saw 15,051 new Covid-19 infections, the fourth straight day of over 15,000 new infections, including one 16,000-plus case spike. The state’s case tally went up to 2,329,464, while active cases, too, rose to 130,547 — 5.60% of the tally.

The surge in Covid-19 cases is likely to take a month to come under control, officials said. The spike has led to imposition of a lockdown or partial lockdown in several districts and cities of the state, even as state health minister Rajesh Tope on Monday clarified that no state-wide lockdown will be imposed, but instead stricter restrictions will be implemented to contain the spread. A few hours later, the state government issued an order banning all sorts of social, cultural, political and religious gatherings in the state. The order also imposed stricter punishments such as closing down establishments violating the rules for a period until the central government declares that the Covid-19 pandemic is no more a disaster. The fresh order will remain in place till March 31.

“Hotels, restaurants, single screen theatres, multiplexes have been allowed to operate at 50% capacity by following restrictions such as no entry without masks, temperature checks before entry, hand sanitisers to be kept at various convenient locations, enough manpower to ensure wearing of masks as well as maintaining social distancing by visitors all the time,” stated the notification issued by the chief secretary Sitaran Kunte on Monday. In case of violation of this order, concerned establishment of the property will have to remain closed for a period until the Covid-19 pandemic stays notified as a disaster by the central government. Violation shall also attract penalties under the disaster act for the owner of the premises, it added.

All offices except those that are related to health and essential services shall have to work with 50% capacity. Work from home should be encouraged and any violation will attract the same punishments determined for commercial establishments such as hotels, restaurants and cinema theatres, according to the order.

The state government has allowed only 50 people to attend weddings and 20 people to attend last rites. Further, the state government has directed the management of all religious places to decide and declare the maximum number of visitors per hour depending upon the availability of space for movement and gathering with proper social distancing. “It is advised that convenient systems like online reservations for visits may be initiated,” said the notification.

State health minister Rajesh Tope urged the people to cooperate by following Covid-19 appropriate behaviour.

“We have opened up everything. The government is not considering to reimpose lockdown, neither in Mumbai nor in the state. But we will be bringing strict restrictions to avoid unnecessary crowding. We have already directed the local administration as well as police to ensure people wearing masks and social distancing are strictly followed. I urge the people to co-operate by following Covid protocol,” Tope said on Monday.

He also said that there is no shortage of Covid vaccines in the state. In fact, the government is looking to improve the figure of those getting vaccinated every day. “We are vaccinating around 125,000 people every day and are trying to increase the numbers. I urge all those above 60 years and those affected with co-morbidities to get immunised at the earliest because the chances of Covid symptoms getting serious in this category of people is much more than the rest of the categories. Despite rise in infectivity, the rate of asymptomatic patients is between 85 to 90% and they recover in seven days,” Tope added.

Meanwhile, the state’s death toll reached 52,909 as 48 casualties were reported, of which, 27 were in the past 48 hours and seven happened in the past week. The remaining 14 deaths were from the period before last week, health officials said.

Mumbai on Monday reported 1,713 fresh Covid-19 cases and four deaths, taking the total number of cases to 345,675 and toll to 11,539. The case fatality rate is 3.3%. Active cases in the city have also shot up to 13,309 from 8,294 recorded on March 1. The recovery rate in Mumbai is 92%. So far, Mumbai has conducted 3,574,056 Covid-19 tests, of which 15,697 were conducted within 24 hours up to Sunday night.

With 2,094 cases, Nagpur city recorded the highest cases across the state. The combined tally of the city and district went up to 2,448 in a day. Pune city also reported 1,122 cases, third highest cases after Mumbai. The combined tally of the city and district comes to 1,485 cases.

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