Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government has extended the ongoing lockdown in Maharashtra till May 15.
In an order issued on Thursday evening, the government said that Maharashtra "continues to be threatened with the spread of COVID-19 virus, and therefore it is imperative to continue emergency measures to prevent and contain its spread".
The order further said that the government "finds it is necessary to continue the enforcement of the current restrictions throughout the state beyond 7 AM on 1st May 2021 till 7 AM on 15th May 2021 to break the chain of transmission effectively".
On Wednesday, the Maharashtra Cabinet had unanimously decided to extend the lockdown from May 1 to May 15, to break the chain of the infection and also to use the window to ease the burden on medical and health infrastructure.
Several MVA ministers had argued that reopening will spur infection and add to the caseload. Ministers, including Chhagan Bhujbal, Rajesh Tope, Vijay Wadettiwar and Uday Samant, had made a strong case for extending the lockdown beyond May 1 saying that the relaxation in curbs will lead to crowding and growth in COVID-19 cases.
A senior bureaucrat had told The Free Press Journal that the extension of lockdown will partially reduce pressure on the health machinery which is currently struggling to provide beds, oxygen, Remdesivir vials and other medicines. ‘’If the cases continue to diminish the government expects the daily demand for medical oxygen to come down to 800 to 900 metric tonnes from the present level of 1,700 MT plus. This will also reduce the pressure to arrange for tankers and procure cylinders,'' the bureaucrat explained.