In tune with Centre’s plans, Delhi, Maharashtra, TN say will not reimpose restrictions
There has been buzz on social media that Maharashtra, Delhi, and Tamil Nadu could see a reimposition of the lockdown because of the spiraling Covid-19 cases.Updated: Jun 13, 2020 02:53 IST
India may have added over 100,000 new cases of coronavirus disease in the past 10 days but there are no plans to impose a stringent nationwide lockdown again, top officials involved in managing the pandemic said on Friday.
Their comments came even as the three states worst hit by the pandemic, Maharashtra, Delhi, and Tamil Nadu, ruled out any reimposition of lockdown measures. After 68 days of a nationwide lockdown, India is now in a phased exit from restrictions on movement and businesses, a period the home ministry terms Unlock 1.0.
On Friday, Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain said that the lockdown will not be reimposed in Delhi. Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray too ruled out re-imposing a hard lockdown. And the Tamil Nadu government told the Madras High Court that there are no plans to impose a complete lockdown either in Chennai or the rest of the state.
There has been buzz on social media that all three states could see a reimposition of the lockdown because of the spiraling cases. On Thursday, India registered 11,199 cases, the highest ever on a single day till then. Of this, 66% of the cases came from the three states.
On Friday night, out of India’s total cases of 309,324, the three states accounted for 178,663.
Central government officials too, insisted that there is little possibility of any immediate roll back of concessions. They, however, added that if the states collectively raise such a demand, then the Centre might consider reviewing its approach. “But as of now, there is no discussion to review the current guidelines,” said one official who asked not to be named.
They also point out that states have enough power to declare containment zones and take measures to curb the spread of the disease in hot spots.
Maharashtra chief minister Thackeray said the government was easing the lockdown restrictions in phases to restart the economy. “Some television news channels and social media platforms are speaking about lockdown being reimposed and closure of all shops (in the state). But the government has not taken any such decision,” he added in a statement.
Union government officials said there is no proposal as of now to discontinue economic activities as it may hamper livelihood of millions of Indians.
“We already have a huge issue in hand on how to help the millions of migrant workers who have returned to their villages,” added a second official who asked not to be named
And far from asking for a reimposition of the lockdown, some states want more activities to be opened up, the first official said. “Some have asked for more relaxation such as opening of suburban and metro trains and more public transport.”
“We are easing lockdown restrictions in phases to restart the economy. But lifting of restrictions does not mean unnecessary crowding and violating discipline of physical distancing and hygiene,” Thackeray said.
A third official said on condition of anonymity that states can, if they so desire “ even extend lockdown.”
On May 31, a day after the Centre announced significant relaxations under “Unlock 1”, the Maharashtra government had extended the lockdown till June 30, but announced a slew of relaxations and phase-wise resumption of activities.
All markets, market areas and shops, except malls, were allowed to reopen in the state from June 5 on the odd- even basis in non-containment zones.The state also allowed private offices to operate with up to 10% of their employee strength as per the requirement from June 8.
(with inputs from Delhi and Mumbai bureaus)