The Maharashtra government on Sunday extended restrictions in the state for 15 more days, saying that some of the curbs could be eased on the basis of the situation in the districts, reported NDTV.

In districts with under 10% of coronavirus positivity rate and with occupancy of under 40% of oxygen beds, all essential shops, which were open between 7 am and 11 am, will now be allowed to operate till 2 pm.

The decision to operate non-essential standalone stores will be taken by the local disaster management officials. Non-essential items will now be allowed to be delivered through e-commerce channels.

Private offices will be allowed to function with a restricted number of employees with Covid-appropriate behaviour. Most of the staff at these offices will be encouraged to work from home, reported The Indian Express.

“Around 15 districts have the daily positivity rate, which is higher than that of the entire state,” Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said, according to the newspaper. “The situation in these districts needs to be brought under control, besides arranging sufficient beds for Covid patients.”

Maharashtra decided to extend the curbs after reviewing the Covid-19 situation in all districts.

Prepare to face third Covid wave: CM Uddhav Thackeray

Maharashtra Chief Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday said that he does not know when the third Covid-1 wave will arrive, but urged residents to not let their “guard down”, reported NDTV.

“In the last three-four days, the numbers matched the peak of the last wave,” he said. “But one good thing is the recovery rate which is now 92%. Even the Case Fatality Rate has reduced.”

Thackeray said that while Covid-19 infections were decreasing in the cities, rural areas have seen a rise. “If the third wave comes at a strong intensity, then we will have a problem with oxygen supply because this time we needed 1700 metric tonnes everyday,” he said.

The chief minister also said that children should be protected from the virus as the third wave may infect them. “But one should not worry as experts say they have more immunity,” he said. “But if they get infected, it will be through us. So we have to take care of that.” The state government has been discussing with paediatric experts on the ways to protect children.

Thackeray said his administration will take the responsibility of children who lost their parents to Covid-19, adding that guidelines will be released on the matter soon.

On the state’s vaccination drive, he said there were six crore beneficiaries in the 18-44 age group and that there were limitations in production and availability of vaccines. “Once we get [the] vaccines, we will increase our capacity. I have been told that we will get it in June,” he said, reported NDTV.

Mahrashtra has 3,000 cases of mucormycosis, also known as “black fungus”, a fungal infection now being reported among recovered Covid-19 patients. The chief minister also thanked the residents of the state for their determination in following the protocols.