MUMBAI: The Maharashtra Cabinet has unanimously decided to extend the lockdown from May 1 to May 15, to break the virus chain 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.
The government will issue a formal notification on April 30.
As reported by the Free Press Journal, several ministers, including Chhagan Bhujbal, Rajesh Tope, Vijay Wadettiwar and Uday Samant, 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. ‘’The lockdown will be extended by 15 days," said Tope.
A senior bureaucrat said 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.
"No one likes lockdown and I am already opposed to it. But health facilities are running out. If this situation persists, there will be a lot of confusion. It is necessary to break the chain and for that extension of lockdown is essential. The administration can focus on curbing infection and reducing the COVID 19 cases,’’ said Bhujbal.