The Maharashtra government is preparing standard operating procedures (SOPs) for stricter Covid restrictions amid Covid-19 cases skyrocketing in the state. Sources, however, said it won’t be a lockdown like last year. Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray addressed the people of the state through social media live at 8.30 PM today to announce the new SOPs and guidelines.
Seeking the help of India’s defence forces, the chief minister said, “I am requesting Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi to ask the air force to transport oxygen to us if needed because, by road, it will take time. Please use the help of the forces since this is an extraordinary situation.”
Sounding grim and desperate, Thackeray said, “We had good control over Covid till November-December. But now the war (against coronavirus) has begun again. And this time the cases are exploding dangerously. Today’s cases are nearly 60,212 in Maharashtra.”
“We have been discussing with stakeholders but there is no solution. 1,200 metric tonnes (mt) of oxygen is produced in the state every day and 900-1,000 mt is being used on Covid patients. Also, the demand for Remdesivir has spiked. But manufacturing takes time and we will ensure we don’t face any shortage,” the chief minister said.
“We have increased Covid centres, beds in hospitals, and ventilators. But now they are getting also getting over-burdened,” Thackeray said in his address.
Thackeray address highlights
Chief Minister Thackeray said, “We have once shown that we can control Covid during the lockdown. We successfully brought down the cases in the past. We won’t sit idle. We have to and we will win. We are increasing treatment infrastructure in Mumbai, Pune and Vidarbha.”
“We must,” the chief minister said, “increase vaccination to beat the next wave.”
The chief minister appealed to doctors who had just graduated to help the state administration. “I am appealing to the health care workers to fight this battle. I am urging NGOs and other organisations to come forward to win this fight. Keep politics aside for now. If we all come together this time, we can win,” he said.
“Unfortunately,” however, Thackeray said, “I have to announce more restrictions. Now is the time for action. I’m not announcing a lockdown for now but strict restrictions need to be in place. More restrictions to come into effect from tomorrow at 8:00 PM.”
The Maharashtra government is imposing Section 144 across the state for the next 15 days. “Unnecessary travel should be stopped,” it urged. Except essential and emergency services, everything else will be shut in the morning from 7 AM to 8 PM. Public transport will function but it will be only for essential travel.
Essential workers are those transporting vaccines, farm produces, rail, bus, plane, medicine shops, journalists, cargo, warehouses. Rest please don’t venture out.
Hotel and restaurants already have restrictions and take-aways will be allowed. Those selling food on the streets can sell from 7 AM to 8 PM but only after packing the items in takeaway parcels.
Strict but not as much as 2020
- It will not be a full-fledged lockdown like last year
- Transport services, both intra-state and inter-state, will remain operational
- The strict restrictions will be imposed for 15 days from tomorrow night until 30 April
- Private offices, other than essential services, will be closed
- Schools and colleges will remain shut
- Theatres, grounds, parks, gyms will be closed
- Restaurants will remain open only for takeaways
- There will be restrictions on public gatherings
- The government will work on an economic support package for the weaker sections of the society
Covid-19 cases on 12 April
Maharashtra reported 258 Covid-19 deaths and 51,751 fresh cases on 12 April. At present, the case fatality in the state stands at 1.68%.
Out of 2,23,22,393 laboratory samples, which were sent for testing, 34,58,996 have tested positive (15.49%) for Covid-19 until today.
At present, 32,75,224 people are under home quarantine and 29,399 people are lodged in institutional quarantine.
As of Monday, 12 April, the state of Maharashtra has 5,64,746 active cases.
Maharashtra on 11 April recorded the highest daily count of 63,294 new Covid-19 cases, its highest one-day rise since the pandemic began. As many as 349 coronavirus patients died in the state in the last 24 hours.
With the new cases and fatalities, Maharashtra’s tally stands at 34,07,245 and the death toll at 57,987, the state health department bulletin said.
The case-fatality ratio stands at 1.7% in the state.
With the recovery of 34,008 patients today, the total number of active Covid-19 cases in Maharashtra has come down to 5,65,587. The state’s recovery rate stands at 81.65% at present.