Authorities in Maharashtra on Thursday announced that a complete lockdown will be imposed in Nagpur from March 15 to March 21, in view of the surge in coronavirus infections in the city, ANI reported.
All shops and establishments, except those which offer essential services, will be shut during this period, state minister Nitin Raut said. The decision was taken after senior city officials held a meeting at the divisional commissioner’s office. Authorities were directed to take strict measures to overcome the situation, the minister said.
The Information Director Office of Nagpur said the restrictions, however, will not affect the vaccination drive in the city. Authorities will make transportation arrangements for citizens who have their appointments, it said.
The Nagpur director’s office also ensured that the city was fully equipped with hospital beds, oxygen supplies and ventilators to treat patients. It said that the restrictions were imposed as citizens were not taking the situation seriously. Nagpur reported 1,710 cases on Wednesday.
“On this day a year ago the first patient of coronavirus was found,” the Information Director Office added. “In August-September the situation was critical.”
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said that lockdown may soon be imposed in certain places to combat the surge in coronavirus cases. “In a few days, we may have to lock down some places,” the chief minister said after getting his first vaccine dose at Mumbai’s JJ Hospital, according to the Hindustan Times. “We may have to start from scratch but still the situation has not gone out of control. At some places, stringent lockdown will be imposed, decision soon.”
Thackeray also asserted that there was no need to fear or be apprehensive about the vaccines. “I appeal to whoever is eligible to get vaccinated. We are speeding up vaccination,” he said.
From the beginning of the pandemic, Maharashtra has reported the highest number of cases in the country. While infections did drop for some time in September and October, they have surged again over the last few weeks. On Wednesday, the state registered 13,659 new coronavirus cases, the highest one-day rise this year, taking the state’s tally to 22,52,057. The last time Maharashtra reported a daily count as high as 13,395 was on October 8. The toll in the state rose by 54 to 52,610.
On Thursday, the Union government said that Maharashtra accounted for almost 60% of the daily new cases.
This has prompted authorities in various districts of the state to reimpose restrictions. On Monday, state Health Minister Rajesh Tope had said that the coronavirus situation in the state was “alarming” and permitted the district administrations to decide on lockdowns.
Authorities in Maharashtra’s Jalgaon district had on Tuesday imposed a “janata curfew” to be implemented between 8 pm on March 11 and 8 am on March 15. Thane district had on Monday announced a lockdown in 16 coronavirus hotspots till the end of the month to combat a surge in infections.