Maharashtra: Major cities under stricter lockdown till weekend as Covid cases surge
The growing number of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) positive cases have led most of the civic bodies in Maharashtra to enforce stricter lockdown restrictions that have been extended until July 19.Updated: Jul 13, 2020 13:27 IST
The growing number of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) positive cases have led most of the civic bodies in Maharashtra to enforce stricter lockdown restrictions that have been extended until July 19.
Besides the municipal corporations in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad Aurangabad, and Solapur have also extended the lockdown restrictions.
Thane, Kalyan-Dombivali, Bhiwandi-Nizampur, Navi Mumbai – part of the densely populated MMR – have imposed a new round of lockdown restrictions until July 19.
Similar steps have been taken by Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad Solapur, and Aurangabad municipal corporations.
While Nagpur and Nashik civic bodies have warned the public of imposing similar lockdown restrictions if the overcrowding on streets goes out of control.
Mumbai, however, has succeeded in stabilising the spike over the past few weeks, officials said.
In Maharashtra, the Covid-19 positive cases have spiked amid the state government’s Mission Begin Again campaign that started from June 3 in a bid to open up commercial activities to revive the economy battered by the viral outbreak.
On June 3, Maharashtra’s Covid-19 count and fatalities stood at 74,680 and 2,587, respectively.
But, a month on, the corresponding tallies had risen to 1,92,990 and 8,376, respectively.
The viral outbreak was pronounced in several densely populated urban parts of the state, including MMR, Pune Metropolitan Region, Nashik, Aurangabad, and Solapur, prompting civic authorities to enforce stricter lockdown restrictions by prohibiting the public from stepping out of their homes unless for essential services.
“The state government was planning to roll out the next phase of Mission Begin Again campaign by allowing more employees to attend private companies and easing public transport restrictions from the first week of July. However, MMR civic bodies opposed the move because of a spike in Covid-19 positive cases owing to the increase in movement of the public between Mumbai and adjoining urban centres such as Thane, Kalyan-Dombiwali, and Mira-Bhayandar. The municipal authorities have demanded an extension in lockdown restrictions in a bid to rein in the viral outbreak. This is the crucial week as far as containment and the viral spread is concerned. We expect the viral scourge to stabilise soon,” said a state government official requesting anonymity.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had held a meeting with the civic bodies last week, except the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), and directed the MMR chief to take a leaf of the BMC’s book by ramping up their respective healthcare infrastructure.
Nashik’s guardian minister Chhagan Bhujbal has warned the public that stricter lockdown restrictions would be imposed if norms are found to be violated.
“The lockdown norms were relaxed in a bid to revive the economy. But, the public has stopped following the norms, triggering the spike in Covid-19 positive cases. We will be forced to impose stricter lockdown restrictions, if the public doesn’t pay heed to our advice,” Nagpur municipal commissioner Tukaram Mundhe had said on Saturday.
Maharashtra has reported 2.54 lakh Covid-19 positive cases and 10,289 viral outbreak-related deaths until Sunday – the highest in the country on both counts.