Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Wednesday said that all members of the Cabinet, who participated in a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, supported the decision to extend restrictions imposed in the state for next 15 days to rein in the pandemic, ANI reported.

At the meeting, the Maharashtra government announced it will provide free coronavirus vaccines for those in the age group of 18 to 44. However, Tope clarified that the vaccination will not begin from May 1.

“Micro planning is in process,” he said, according to News18. “The centres for 18-44 will be different. They will be dedicated for the particular age group.”

Maharashtra curbs

Strict restrictions, barring non-essential movement of people, were implemented in the state from April 14 for 15 days. A week after it imposed lockdown-like curbs, the Maharashtra government put in place additional restrictions by curtailing the timings of shops selling essential food items like groceries, vegetables and poultry. Home delivery was also no longer allowed after 8 pm.

Maharashtra reported 895 deaths due to the virus on Tuesday, of which 392 occurred in the past 48 hours and 179 from last week. This was the highest ever single-day rise in toll since the pandemic broke out last year. With this, 66,179 people have succumbed to the disease so far. The state also reported 66,358 new cases, taking the tally of infections to 44,10,085.

The state capital Mumbai, however, continued to report less infections. It recorded 3,999 new cases and 59 deaths, raising the tally to 6,35,483 and the toll to 12,920.

Maharashtra, the worst-hit state since the beginning of the pandemic, has been contributing the highest numbers of cases and deaths. The health ministry on Wednesday said Maharashtra is among the 10 states which have reported 73.59% of India’s new cases registered in the last 24 hours.