Maharashtra govt may impose 15-day lockdown starting Wednesday night

A vaccination centre in Mumbai on Tuesday | Photo: PTI
Stringent restrictions are likely to be put in place in Maharashtra for 15 days from Wednesday night to check the spread Covid-19 infections in the state. Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray will announce the restrictions on Wednesday.

At a cabinet meeting in Mumbai on Tuesday, all the ministers demanded a complete lockdown as rising cases have strained health infrastructure in the state. Long-distance trains and flights will continue. The state administration is preparing new regulations for public transport and these services may function to help essential sector employees to commute to work. Restrictions are likely to be imposed  on inter-district travel.

Maharashtra is the worst-affected state in the country with over over 670,000 active Covid-19 cases. Over 58,000 cases were registered on Monday. On Tuesday, the state government decided to curtail timings of all provision stores, bakeries and all shops serving food items. These outlets will now remain open only for four hours (7-11 a.m).  Home delivery will be allowed from these outlets till 8 p.m.

The restrictions are being introduced to curtail unnecessary public movement. But at the cabinet meeting, all the ministers made a pitch for stricter curbs. "Covid-19 cases are not declining and citizens are finding it difficult to find a hospital bed. We will have to bring a complete lockdown," Mumbai's guardian minister Aslam Shaikh said.

Last week Thackeray announced a 15-day curfew closing down cinemas, malls and multiplexes. Restaurants are open for delivery only. Curbs were imposed on manufacturing units too.

However these restrictions have not had the desired effect. Implementation too has not been rigorous forcing ministers to seek tougher measures.

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