In view of the unabated rise in fresh COVID-19 cases, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has asked officials to prepare a lockdown plan which will have a minimum impact on the economy.
According to the press release issued by the CM's office, during a meeting with Thackeray, the state's COVID-19 task force recommended that the government implement measures like a stricter lockdown to stem the rise in coronavirus positive cases.
Pradeep Vyas predicted a "tremendous stress" on the availability of beds, oxygen supply, and ventilators, which could fall short if the cases continue to go up.
According to a report in Indian Express, a complete lockdown is unlikely now. Local trains will continue to run and economic activities will have minimal impact, but restaurants, malls, public places, private offices, and pubs will have to adhere to strict protocols to reduce overcrowding, the report said.
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Vinita Singhal, secretary of the labour department said that activities in construction, factories, and essential services will continue as usual. "But traveling in buses and trains will be staggered to minimise contact. Private offices will be expected to work with minimal staff and stagger work timings,” she said, as per the report.
The state government has already imposed a night curfew and announced a complete ban on holding of all types of gatherings, including political and religious in the state.
The government also ordered that restaurants, gardens and malls will remain shut between 8 pm to 7 am beginning Saturday night. People will also not be allowed to visit beaches from 8 pm to 7 am, an official order said.
Some state leaders have, however, expressed concerns about the government's decision to enforce lockdown.
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said that a complete lockdown will "devastate" the economy of Maharashtra. Raut said that he had asked Thackeray to impose targeted restrictions rather than issuing complete stay-at-home orders.
State BJP President Chandrakant Patil also said that lockdown is not a solution for the rise in cases of coronavirus. Patil said not only BJP, but all traders and workers from unorganised sectors will oppose the lockdown.
Maharashtra has seen a huge rise in coronavirus positive cases over the last week. A day after reporting the highest one-day rise of 40,414 coronavirus positive cases, Maharashtra on March 29 added 31,643 fresh infections, taking the overall tally to 27,45,518, the state health department said.
With 102 fatalities, the death toll in the state went up to 54,283. The state is now left with 3,36,584 active cases.Click here for Moneycontrol's full coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak