Covid-19: Government to consider 15-days lockdown in Maharashtra
MUMBAI: At a meeting of MVA Alliance and BJP leaders, which was called by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Maharashtra leading Covid-19 was chosen to lock up the state.
Sources who participated said there was a probability of 15 days lockdown, but after a series of meetings on Sundays and Mondays, a final decision would be made in order to establish a comprehensive plan.
Senior officials said all curbs observed during the present weekend lock-down will probably be extended to weekdays.
The blockage is not as strict as last year, but can only function in food processing units, medical diagnostic kits, pharmaceutical industries and supply chains. “Only important industries were permitted to operate at the beginning. This time too, a similar limitation can be enforced.”
While a meeting of the Covid Task Force on Sunday is anticipated, CM Deputy Ajit Pawar will convene a meeting on Monday to schedule relief measures. An official announcement is expected to take place on Monday or Tuesday.
The decision was welcomed by all the coalition partners and opposition leaders who called upon the government to announce a relief package for all those involved. The Saturday meeting was held to reach a consensus on a state lockout.
There’s no way but to take stricter cuts, said Thackeray. “The number of people who do not settle on lockdown today increases so rapidly that tomorrow will automatically lead to a lockdown,” Thackeray said.
“This is an emergency for health, and thus people’s lives must be given priority. The situation is grim and strict restrictions must be imposed to slow the spread,” Thackeray said.
Senior officials said that unrestricted movement on weekdays could also be prohibited, although the existing restrictions remain. There is currently only a prohibitive order which, while movement is unlimited, will not allow more than five people assembly during the day. He said the government will probably continue public transport for key staff and for the public in major activities and emergencies such as trains, cars and buses.
“Almost 60,000 people go every day to Mumbai vaccination centres. Students will go to the examinations. For those who have a legitimate excuse to step out, public transport will proceed,” the official said. Furthermore, long-haul trains keep running, so that nobody is stranded and no panic.
Opposition leaders have said that before further regulations are applied, the government must develop a detailed strategy. They also indicated that relief steps and monetary packages should be announced for refugees, vendors and regular wage-earners. All those who are affected should be provided with subsidised food grains.
“The government should take account of public opinion as well while implementing further limits. Support must be extended to small traders, retailers or salon owners, who are also affected by industry,” said Devendra Fadnavis, the opposition leader. Fadnavis further stated that not only in the cities but also in rural areas drugs, oxygen supply and health infrastructures should be expanded.
“The poor and the working class are all of us concerned. But now we have to avoid the rapid spread, too. We will worry about their problems. If we need to win this fight, we all need to face some difficulties,” Thackeray said.
The top officers have indicated that Thackeray would prove insufficient in the coming days to indicate the infrastructure available today. The demand for oxygen has also risen substantially and the state will soon cease to exist. 960 metric tonnes, compared with the output of 1,200MT, were used in the state on Friday. “When a seven-day lockout was sufficient, the health officials were of the opinion that the desired effect requires at least a 15-day lockdown,” the top official said.