The Maharashtra Cabinet has recommended that the lockdown enforced in the state be extended by two weeks in view of the coronavirus situation, reported the Hindustan Times. The state has already extended the shutdown once, and the current restrictions will end at 7 am on May 15.
“At the Cabinet meeting, the health department and ministers proposed to extend the lockdown for 15 days,” state health minister Rajesh Tope told reporters. “The chief minister [Uddhav Thackeray] will take a final decision on this matter.”
As per the current rules, only those who provide essential services are allowed to travel in public transport. Government offices are working at 15% capacity, while marriage ceremonies have been restricted to 25 persons.
Authorities said they were not considering to impose other localised restrictions in districts that are reporting higher cases, according to reports. “Nearly 12 districts are showing a decline in cases, but that is just one-third of the state, the remaining two-thirds is either stable or is reporting an increase,” an unidentified official told Mumbai Mirror. “Opening up would lead to a surge again.”
Maharashtra has so far been the state worst hit by the coronavirus outbreak, contributing about a quarter of the country’s total 2,33,40,938 infections. On Wednesday, the state recorded 46,781 new Covid-19 cases, 58,805 recoveries and 816 deaths in 24 hours. The total number of cases stood at 52,26,710, including 5,46,129 active cases, and 78,007 fatalities and 46,00,196 recoveries.
The surge in infections has coincided with a dramatic drop in vaccinations in the state because of supply problems. On Tuesday, Tope had announced that Maharashtra suspended the vaccination drive for 18 to 45-year-olds for the time being, due to shortage of vaccines. On Wednesday, Mumbai’s civic body, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Council, also tweeted that it had stopped the vaccination drive for this age group.