Maha govt starts review and planning for easing Covid-19-related restrictions from June 1
With just four days for lockdown 4.0 to end on May 31, the Maharashtra government has started a review and planning for easing Covid-19-related restrictions from June 1.
Maharashtra imposed a lockdown from the midnight of March 23, a day before the nationwide lockdown began. On June 1, the state will have been in lockdown for 69 days.
State government officials have said restrictions will be relaxed in a phased manner. “Lifting of curbs will be announced in advance. There will be more relaxations but in a calibrated manner and in phases,” an official said.
Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray has hinted restrictions will be eased on a trial basis to gauge the people’s response. In a meeting with district collectors, divisional commissioners and municipal commissioners on Wednesday, he said the number of Covid-19 cases had surged in districts with fewer cases after restrictions were eased.
Experts said Maharashtra has to be extremely cautious about lifting restrictions.
Anant Bhan, a researcher on global health, bioethics and health policy, said: “The exit strategy has to be carefully applied and in a calibrated manner. The decisions have to be more local, at ward levels, and the impact needs to be constantly monitored.”
On Wednesday, Maharashtra recorded more than 100 deaths due to Covid-19, which has bruised the state more than others. As of May 27, Maharashtra alone accounted for 36% of the total cases in the country.
With 105 fatalities recorded on Wednesday alone, the state’s toll went up to 1,897. The total number of infections recorded till Wednesday evening was 56,948. Of these, more than 37,000 are active cases.
Starting from May 17, the state has recorded more than 2,000 new infections for 10 days in a row. The state’s worst-affected city, Mumbai, reported 1,044 new cases on Wednesday.
The state has also witnessed intense political activity in the past few days, with a tussle between the Central and state governments over the Shramik Special trains for migrant workers and the BJP unit in Maharashtra attacking the state government over the growing number of Covid-19 cases.
The ruling Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi alliance put up a united front, with leaders from the Shiv Sena, Congress and Nationalist Congress Party addressing a joint news conference.