Coronavirus: Maharashtra lockdown curbs extended by another 15 days
As Maharashtra witnesses a spike in coronavirus infections, the state's Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Wednesday that the lockdown restrictions will be extended by another 15 days beyond April 30. Essential services will, however, be exempted from the restrictions, that came into effect on April 14. Notably, the state has reported over 60,000 new infections almost every day the past two weeks.
All Cabinet members supported extension of curbs: Tope
Tope told reporters on Wednesday that the decision was taken after a meeting of the Maharashtra Cabinet. "All members of the Maharashtra Cabinet are of the opinion that current COVID-19 restrictions should be extended for the next 15 days," said the Health Minister. Originally, the restrictions were to remain in effect until 7 am on May 1.
Malls, cinema halls, gyms, etc., already shut in Maharashtra
Earlier this month, Maharashtra had announced a weekend lockdown (from 8 pm on Fridays till 7 am on Mondays) and a night curfew. The closure of private offices, theaters, and salons to curb had also been imposed. Section 144 of CrPC—prohibiting the assembly of five or more people—was imposed across the state. Malls, cinema halls, gyms, other recreational spaces are also shut.
COVID-19 situation stabilized to same extent: Tope
Tope said the COVID-19 situation seems to have stabilized to some extent. The state had predicted that daily infections may cross 70,000, but they have not. On Tuesday, the state had reported a record number of 895 fresh fatalities along with 66,358 new cases. The total number of infections stood at 44,100,85, which includes 6,72,434 active cases and 66,179 deaths.
Maharashtra announces free COVID-19 vaccinations
Maharashtra has announced free COVID-19 vaccinations for 5.71 crore people in the age group 18-44 years. The central government has allowed vaccinations for the age group from May 1. However, Maharashtra will not be able to start vaccinations for the group from Saturday as it faces a shortage of vaccine doses. Currently, only those aged over 45 and healthcare/frontline workers can be vaccinated.