On the wake of the rising cases in the state, Maharashtra is considering imposing a strict lockdown this week. "In (Sunday's) meeting of the (Covid-19) task force, it was suggested that very strict restrictions like lockdown should be imposed immediately," the office of Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray said in a statement.Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray asked officials at a meeting on Sunday to prepare standard operating procedures (SOPs) so that lockdown can be imposed in a planned manner if required.
Officials were directed to ensure the supply of food grains, medicines and other essential items is maintained and medical facilities run in case a second lockdown in Maharashtra is imposed. Thackeray said that protecting people’s health is his priority, even as the government is trying its best to keep the economy afloat during the pandemic.“Appropriate instructions are being given to the administration to ensure that there is no confusion if a lockdown is imposed. The balance sheet will be maintained so that the financial cycle is not affected,” said Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte.
Dr. Pradeep Vyas, principal secretary in the state’s health department, pointed out that due to the rapidly increasing infections, all important health facilities will soon be under severe stress and will not be easily available to the general public. This includes hospital beds, ventilators and oxygen. The chief minister has said that adequate ventilators should be available. Additionally, he said, 80 per cent of oxygen production should be reserved for medical purposes.Thackeray said all required facilities should be available in places other than Mumbai and Pune. If there are no facilities in rural areas, arrangements should be made in the nearest town, he said.In the last week, Maharashtra witnessed as many as one lakh fresh Covid-19 cases.To control the situation, Section 144 of the CrPC under which gatherings of five or more individuals are banned has been imposed in the state during the night hours from March 28 onwards. On Saturday, all gatherings, including political and religious ones, were banned. Restaurants, gardens and malls are to remain shut between 8 pm and 7 am.