Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray today said that lockdown could be an option to control the spread of coronavirus as the state continues to witness a worrying surge in cases.
Thackeray’s statement comes a day after Maharashtra registered its highest-ever single-day spike of 25,833 Covid-19 cases yesterday.
Speaking about the alarming rise in cases, Thackeray said that the Covid-19 situation in the state had become grimmer as the number of new cases yesterday breached the previous high which was recorded in September last year.
“I see lockdown as an option going ahead. But I trust people of the state to cooperate (and follow the Covid-19 norms voluntarily) like the last time,” the chief minister said.
However, the chief minister said that unlike the previous wave, now we have vaccines to fight the virus.
“When the pandemic began last year, there was nothing to fight the virus with. But now at least we have vaccines as a shield,” the chief minister said.
Thackeray said the priority now is to ensure that everyone is vaccinated and urged people to come forward to get inoculated without fear.
“There have been a few instances where a person caught infection after vaccination, but such cases are not life- threatening,” the chief minister said.
Lockdown version in Maharashtra
Meanwhile, the state government has announced fresh restrictions to curb the rise in infections. In view of the increasing number of Covid-19 cases, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to conduct antigen tests at all crowded places in the city like malls, said BMC commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal.
Apart from it, antigen tests will also be conducted at railway stations, bus stops and crowded market places. Officials said that this step will help in increasing the number of coronavirus tests and also track positive patients rapidly.
“This move be also discourage people from visiting public places and create unnecessary crowds,” said officials.
However, if one has an RTPCR negative test not older than 72 hours, then there would be no need for conducting the antigen test.
The official order is yet awaited.
According to the new guidelines, all drama theatres and auditoriums in the state will operate on 50% capacity until 31 March and no entry will be allowed without proper wearing of masks.
Theatres and auditoriums will not be used for cultural and political events, the order said.
All private offices have been asked to function at 50% capacity.
If found violating these partial lockdown norms, the premises will be shut down till the time Covid-19 stays notified as a disaster by the union government, it said.
Earlier, the government had ordered cinema halls, hotels and restaurants to operate at 50% capacity until 31 March.