Taking cognizance of the massive rise in COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra and the brazen flouting of social distancing norms, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in an emergency meeting on Sunday has directed the administration to prepare for a lockdown.
In the meeting attended by Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope, Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte, and members of the COVID Task Force, the Chief Minister gave clear orders that visitors in government and semi-government offices should be completely banned from entering, and if private offices and establishments do not comply with the 50 per cent staffing restrictions, the administration should prepare for a lockdown.
Uddhav said, "Staffing restrictions are still not being followed in private offices, rules for wedding ceremonies are being broken, social distancing isn't followed in markets, and people aren't wearing masks." The government is trying its best to keep the economy afloat even in this situation, but "ultimately, protecting people's health is our priority", the CM said. Thackeray also directed the officials to increase the number of beds, ventilators and oxygen supply.
Meanwhile, Rajesh Tope expressed the need to expedite the search for the contacts of COVID-19 patients in rural areas. "It is a matter of concern that people infected with COVID-19 are arriving at hospitals late. Large numbers of patients are now emerging in the age group of 10 to 18 years," he said. Tope also expressed fears that the death rate among the youth may also increase in the near future.
This comes after the Maharashtra government imposed a night curfew across the state. The government issued a notification on Saturday and said the night curfew would be from 8 pm to 6 am.