Maharashtra government has been trying to tighten restrictions to the very extent possible to minimise the spread of Covid-19 infections in the city. After observing five night-time curfews among several other restrictions, the Chief Minister of the state Uddhav Thackrey had thrown hints that a longer lockdown of up to 15 days might be implemented to break the chain of infections.
A meeting with the leader of opposition Devendra Fadnavis and ruling three-party Maha Vikas Aghadi was held in which the former CM demanded a detailed plan of action to address the fears of the livelihood issues and job losses during the lockdown. Extending his support to the government Fadnavis said that government should reveal options through which they can reconcile with the challenges, especially the economic crisis the extreme measures will bring.
The state experienced a marginal drop in fresh infections due to the restrictions imposed in the public movement for a week now. On Saturday there were 55, 411 new cases and 9,330 were from Mumbai. The death rate has also shot since March with more than 300 fatalities in the last four days.
Fadnavis stressed on the part of providing an alternative to the worst affected sectors if fresh restrictions amounting to a complete lockdown is imposed. There is a massive rage among people about their livelihood he said. Congress minister Ashok Chavan said that a full-fledged roadmap for lockdown is in its way and curbs can be taken back as the downward trend in cases is noticed. According to Nana Patole, the state Congress President disagreed with imposing a lockdown like last year.
According to the health department, a 15 day-lockdown will be announced on Sunday after a final meeting of the CM with the Covid task force. The lockdown will be effective Monday evening onwards, said the sources.
Moreover, vaccine shortage in Pune leads to several centres remaining shut on Friday. Only 2.72 lakh jabs were given on Friday, a 40 per cent dip from the day before. In Mumbai, only 21,094 people got vaccinated at Mumbai on Saturday, another dip from 33, 550 who were immunised on Friday. On Saturday, NESCO centre witnessed a huge rush for vaccination while the government BLC centre had only a few registered beneficiaries.
A longer lockdown is likely to be a continuation of the weekend lockdown where several categories of essential services were allowed, Food delivery by restaurants took place till 8 PM Public and private transport was functional even with few commuters. According to an official, the lockdown will be in effect until the state witnesses five continuous days of declining cases. However, having a deadline for lockdown will be difficult if cases rise even during this time period. The authorities might take a call to the extent until cases drop.
Officials said the government will have an inclusive plan to give aid to daily wagers. The CM assured that the inputs of the Opposition and other political leaders will be considered. Other suggestions by Fadnavis like the early report of tests, availability of Remdesivir and oxygen for treatment will also be considered.
Migrants workers in the state in large numbers have already left the city for their home states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal sensing a longer lockdown in the offing. Central and western railway trains to North India were also increased to accommodate the rising number of passengers