Hours after Maharashtra minister Vijay Wadettiwar announced a plan to lift the coronavirus-induced lockdown in 18 districts from Friday, the chief minister’s office clarified that no decision has been taken on lifting the restrictions yet, reported The Indian Express.
In a statement, the chief minister’s office said that the relaxation of restrictions based on the situation in different areas is still under consideration.
Earlier in the day, Wadettiwar had announced a five-level plan to lift the lockdown in the state as daily cases gradually decrease. He said that the government has classified districts into different levels based on the Covid-19 positivity rate and the status of occupancy of oxygen beds.
The chief minister’s office, however, said that the relaxations will be decided on the basis of the severity of the Covid-19 situation. It added that fresh guidelines on lifting the curbs or strengthening them will be announced soon.
Following the statement, Wadettiwar claimed the government had given only an “in principle” approval to phasing out of restrictions.
Based on the initial plans, level one included districts where the Covid positivity rate was 5% or less and the oxygen bed occupancy lower than 25%, News18 reported. These places were to be allowed to lift restrictions on all activities from Friday.
Aurangabad, Thane, Nashik, Nagpur, Nanded, Jalgaon, Bhandara, Buldhana, Chandrapur, Dhule, Gondia, Gadchiroli, Parbhani, Wardha, Washim, and Yavatmal were among the districts included in this level.
Level two included Mumbai, Amaravati, Hingoli, Ahmednagar and Nandurbar districts. In these places, there was to be a ban on gatherings of four or more people, but gyms, salons and restaurants could operate at 50% capacity, according to News18.
However, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has said that it will monitor the Covid-19 situation in the city till June 15 before easing curbs, India Today reported.
Level three included Akola, Kolhapur, Beed, Ratnagiri, Osmanabad, Sindhudurg, Sangli, Satara, Solapur and Palghar districts. Pune and Raigad were in level four. In level five, residents in districts needed an e-pass to travel, according to News18.
On May 30, the Maharashtra government had extended the lockdown in the state by 15 more days, saying that some of the curbs could be eased on the basis of the situation in the districts. In districts with under 10% of coronavirus positivity rate and with occupancy of under 40% of oxygen beds, all essential shops, which were earlier permitted to open between 7 am and 11 am, were allowed to operate till 2 pm, the government had said.
Private offices were allowed to function with a restricted number of employees following Covid-appropriate behaviour.
On Thursday, Maharashtra recorded 15,229 new Covid-19 cases and 307 deaths. The positivity rate stood at 16.19%.