In a serious bid to curb the rising COVID-19 cases, the Maharashtra Cabinet on Tuesday unanimously requested Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to announce a complete lockdown as the existing 'Break The Chain' guidelines aren't proving to be efficient. Thackeray will make the announcement in this regard at 8 pm tomorrow (Wednesday), Health Minister Rajesh Tope said.
Maharashtra has been reporting over 50,000 coronavirus cases every day in the last two weeks but people are still flouting the existing restrictions on movement and gatherings, Tope said.
"All the cabinet ministers expressed views in favour of a strict lockdown to minimise the spread of COVID-19. Ministers come from all corners of the state, so it also indicates that the entire state needs this measure," Tope added.
"We have requested the CM to announce a complete lockdown in the state from tomorrow at 8 pm. This was the request of all ministers to CM, now it is his decision," said Tope. "Tomorrow after 8pm, the CM will announce the decision on lockdown in the state," he added.
Minister Aslam Sheikh said the guidelines regarding the complete lockdown will be announced soon. "Looking at the shortage of supply of medical oxygen, Maharashtra is heading towards a complete lockdown; guidelines regarding it will be announced soon," he said.
Meanwhile, the government sources told The Free Press Journal that the complete lockdown will be for a period of 15 days. It is likely to begin from tomorrow (Wednesday) night or early Thursday, sources said.
1. There will be curbs on inter and intra district vehicular movement during the lockdown. However, railways and airline services will continue.
2. The government will exempt chemist shops from the lockdown. Groceries, diaries, and shops selling other essential commodities are likely to remain open for a few hours only.
3. Staff attendance in government, semi-government offices will be reduced to 10% from 50%. Private offices are likely to be shut during this period.
4. Vaccination and all health emergency services will be exempted from the strict lockdown.
Besides, School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad has announced that the upcoming state SSC Board exams for 2021 have been cancelled.
"Earlier we had declared plans to conduct the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary & Higher Secondary Education Class 10 exams in June. However, given the current Covid-19 situation, the state cabinet has decided to cancel the state board SSC exams this year," Gaikwad said in a statement.