The ongoing COVID-19-induced lockdown in Maharashtra will not be completely lifted from June 1, Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Thursday. The Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government will decide on the lockdown extension and relaxations to be given based on the task force report, said Tope. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will take the final call, he added.
"Although the COVID-19 growth rate is slowly declining in Maharashtra, the number of patients in 10 to 15 districts is increasing rapidly, and there is also a risk of mucormycosis (black fungus). The number of patients had reached a record high in September last year. Today's number of patients in the state has come down to the same level as in September. But we have to be more careful. There was a discussion in the Cabinet on extending the lockdown after June 1 and then gradually reducing the restrictions. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray directed the administration in this regard," read a statement from the Chief Minister's Office.
Earlier, Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Vijay Wadettiwar categorically stated that the government would not relax the strict curbs in the red zone comprising 15 districts, however, he said it would consider relaxation in other districts. He further clarified that the general public would not be allowed to commute by Mumbai suburban locals till further orders, until June 15 at least.
Buldana, Kolhapur, Ratnagiri, Sangli, Yavatmal, Amravati, Sindhudurg, Solapur, Akola, Satara, Washim, Beed, Gadchiroli, Ahmednagar and Osmanabad are the red zone districts. The prohibitory orders and night curfew in these districts will continue to be in place, given that the number of cases and positivity rate in these 15 districts remains high.
Meanwhile, given the continuous rise in new COVID-19 cases and high positivity rates in the red zone, the Maharashtra government has banned home isolation. All patients must necessarily be admitted to Covid care centres (CCCs), the government has said. The district administrations have been directed to increase the number of CCCs in these districts, said Tope. These districts are Satara, Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri, Osmanabad, Beed, Raigad, Pune, Hingoli, Akola, Amravati, Kolhapur, Thane, Sangli, Gadchiroli, Wardha, Nashik, Ahmednagar and Latur.