Coronavirus: 15-day lockdown likely in Maharashtra from tomorrow
The Maharashtra government is likely to order a 15-day state-wide lockdown starting Monday (April 12) in light of the worsening COVID-19 situation. A decision on fresh curbs is expected after Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray holds a meeting with the state COVID-19 task force later on Sunday. Maharashtra is notably India's worst-hit state in the outbreak. Here are more details.
Lockdown's duration expected to be announced today
On Saturday, Thackeray had indicated that a longer lockdown is likely. A weekend lockdown and a night curfew are currently enforced in Maharashtra. Sources told The Indian Express that the health department proposed a 15 day-lockdown at a meeting of representatives of the ruling party and the Opposition on Saturday. The lockdown's duration will be announced after Thackeray's meeting with the COVID-19 task force.
'Lockdown should continue until cases drop'
TIE quoted an official as saying, "What if the cases continue to rise even after 15 days of complete lockdown. It is difficult to have a deadline for this, so it was argued that the lockdown should continue until cases drop for five continuous days." Officials also said that an "inclusive" plan will be prepared to give relief to the poor and daily wagers.
Without action, lockdown-like situation will automatically arise: Thackeray
Thackeray had held a virtual meeting with representatives of the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government and the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday. At the meeting, Thackeray reportedly said, "If we do not take a decision about a lockdown today, a lockdown-like situation will automatically arise tomorrow." Leader of Opposition and former CM Devendra Fadnavis also assured support to the CM.
Economic concerns cannot be dismissed: Fadnavis
Fadnavis said his party does not oppose COVID-19 restrictions, but sought a detailed plan including alternatives to various sectors so as to ensure that people's livelihoods aren't seriously impacted. "The economic concerns cannot be dismissed," he said. State Congress President Nana Patole said, "We have told the CM not to impose lockdown like last year as that caused huge hardships to people."
Maharashtra reported 55k new cases yesterday
On Saturday evening, Maharashtra reported 55,411 fresh infections, the fifth consecutive day that the state reported over 55,000 infections. The state's tally has risen to 33,43,951, including 57,638 deaths and 27,48,153 recoveries. Deaths have risen since March, with 309 fresh fatalities on Saturday alone. State capital Mumbai, Pune, Thane, Nagpur, and Nashik are among the key areas of concern.
Vaccinations dip as state complains of dose shortage
Vaccinations in the state have dipped from over 4 lakh to 2.82 lakh on Saturday. Several vaccination centers have remained shut due to a vaccine shortage. While the state government has demanded more doses from the Centre, the latter blames the state for mismanagement. Civic officials reportedly said that the fresh restrictions may have discouraged many from leaving their homes to get vaccinated.
India reports record 1.52 lakh infections
According to the Union Health Ministry, as of Sunday morning, India reported a total of 1,33,58,805 COVID-19 cases, including 1,69,275 deaths, 11,08,087 active cases, and 1,20,81,443 recoveries. Over the past day, the nation reported 1,52,879 new infections—the biggest single-day rise since the pandemic began—and 839 fresh fatalities. 10,15,95,147 vaccine doses have also been administered across the country.