Mumbai, Pune lockdown may extend till May 18: Health Minister
Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Saturday that the lockdown in Mumbai and Pune may extend till May 18. Currently, Maharashtra is following the nationwide lockdown, which will last until May 3. Tope's statement comes as the number of coronavirus cases in Maharashtra continue to rise, touching 6,800 till Friday. Mumbai and Pune are the two major hotspots in the state.
'Will extend lockdown for 15 more days if required'
Tope told Mint on Saturday, "If required, we will extend the lockdown for 15 more days after May 3 only for the containment zones, if not for the entire Mumbai and Pune." He said that the objective of the lockdown was to stop the spread of COVID-19, adding, "If the spread is not getting contained, we will have to extend the lockdown."
'No non-essential services in Mumbai, Pune hotspots till May 18'
"We've asked the government to enforce complete lockdown restrictions on schools, colleges, and public gatherings across Maharashtra till May 18. For Mumbai and Pune, all non-essential services will not be allowed to operate in hotspot areas for at least another 15 days after May 3."
Government official said Mumbai, Pune lockdown may last till June
However, a report published in The Economic Times earlier on Saturday stated that lockdown restrictions in Mumbai and Pune Metropolitan region may last until June. A state government official told the publication, "As of now, there is no question of lifting the lockdown in Mumbai and Pune MMR region. In fact, with the rising numbers, there may be a need to tighten restrictions."
Recently, government withdrew lockdown relaxations in Mumbai, Pune
On April 21, Maharashtra revoked lockdown relaxations in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region and the Pune Metropolitan Region a day after they were introduced. In green and orange zones, only agriculture work, MGNREGA work, movement of cargo, commercial and private establishments, urgent monsoon work, manufacturing in SEZs and industrial townships in non-containment zones, etc., are allowed to function. There are 512 containment zones in Maharashtra.
'Lockdown will have to be carefully lifted'
The state surveillance officer with the Maharashtra Health Department, Dr. Pradeep Awate, told Mint, "The lockdown will have to be carefully lifted with clear segregation between the hotspot and non-hotspot areas." Dr. Awate said, "After May 3, the government can only lift the lockdown partially and only in the green and orange zones. For Mumbai and Pune, the lockdown must continue."
Maharashtra reports 6,817 cases; 80% concentrated in Mumbai, Pune
On Friday, Maharashtra reported 394 new cases, taking its COVID-19 tally to 6,817. 301 people have also died in the state. However, most of the cases are concentrated in Mumbai and Pune, which have reported 4,447 cases (178 deaths) and 961 cases (67 deaths) respectively.
Maharashtra yet to decide on opening shops per Centre's order
Late-Friday, the Centre allowed the opening of neighborhood shops listed under the Shops and Establishments Act of state/union territory governments. However, the Maharashtra government is yet to decide whether it will allow the shops to be operational. An official told PTI that the Centre's notification was under "active consideration." He said, "This is issued by the Government of India. Not yet accepted by us."