Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Tuesday said the state Cabinet has requested Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to enforce a strict lockdown to manage the rising coronavirus cases as the pandemic spins out of control in the state, the Hindustan Times reported.
“We have requested the chief minister to announce a complete lockdown in the state from tomorrow [Wednesday] at 8 pm,” Tope told reporters after a meeting of all state ministers in Mumbai. “This was the request of all ministers to the chief minister, now it is his decision,”
Maharashtra has so far been the state worst hit by the coronavirus outbreak, contributing about a quarter of the country’s total 1,53,21,089 infections. The state has 6,78,198 active Covid-19 cases, 31,59,240 recoveries and 60,824 fatalities as of Tuesday, the Union health ministry data showed.
The state has already implemented one round of restrictions from April 14 for 15 days. Only essential services are allowed to operate during this period and a ban has been imposed on gatherings of more than four. Restaurants can only offer takeaways and home delivery.
But the state’s ministers feel this is not enough.
Tope said infections have been rising in the state even after these restrictions. This has made a stringent lockdown in the state necessary, he said, adding that “the lockdown would be like last year”, according to Reuters.
State minister Aslam Sheikh said the state was facing an acute shortage of beds and oxygen. Maharashtra urban development minister and Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde, too, said the situation was getting worrisome, and requested Thackeray to impose the lockdown “to break the chain of transmission”.
After Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting, the state government also announced that it will cancel the state board exams for Class 10 and postpone the same for Class 12.
On Saturday, Mumbai’s civic body, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s mayor Kishori Pednekarhad also called for a complete lockdown in the city considering the current Covid-19 situation.