The Maharashtra government on Sunday imposed new restrictions in several districts amid a worrying surge in the number of coronavirus cases. A week-long lockdown will come into force in Amravati from Monday. Pune, on the other hand, announced restrictions on night-time movement and large gatherings.
Maharashtra reported 6,971 new cases and 35 deaths in the last 24 hours. The number of active cases in the state stood at 52,956 as of Sunday evening.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday announced a ban on all political, religious and social gatherings across the state from Monday. He added that the state government will have to enforce a lockdown in case the situation deteriorates, ANI reported. “Those who want lockdown can roam around without mask while those who don’t want it must wear mask and follow all the rules,” he said in a televised address.
However, Thackeray did not confirm if there was second wave in the state. “The pandemic is raising its head in the state, but whether it is another wave will be known in eight to 15 days,” he was quoted as saying by the news agency.
Earlier in the day, Maharashtra minister Yashomati Thakur while announcing the week-long lockdown in Amravati had warned people that it may be extended if they do not adhere to safety norms. She added that essential services will not be affected.
In Pune, a limited curfew will be imposed between 11 pm and 6 am from Monday. Schools and colleges in the city will remain closed till February 28. Prior permission will be required for marriage functions.
Meanwhile, doctors said they found mutations in one sample each from Amravati and Yavatmal districts, The Indian Express reported. They added that the mutation could explain why whole families were testing positive for the coronavirus in Amravati district.
Dr Vivek Gujar from the Yavatmal Molecular Lab told the newspaper that they planned to collect more samples to ascertain whether the mutation was widespread.
“Like Amravati, in Yavatmal entire family of infected persons is testing positive for Covid-19,” he told The Indian Express. “This mutation can evade antibody response, if there are reinfections this mutation may be seen in those cases,” he said. “But so far we have not come across a rise in reinfections.”
The health department, on the other hand, denied that mutant strains from the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil had been detected in the two districts, PTI reported. It cited results from genome sequencing of the samples.