Mumbai: An appropriate decision regarding imposing a lockdown in Maharashtra will be taken after April 14, state Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Sunday.
He was speaking to reporters after a virtual meeting of the COVID-19 task force chaired by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to discuss measures, including imposition of a lockdown in the state, to break the virus chain.
“Duration of the lockdown and how to handle its economic fallout was discussed during today’s meeting. The task force is of the view that the prevailing coronavirus situation in the state is such that a lockdown is required,” the minister said.
A tweet from the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) said, “In a meeting with the State Task Force, the chief minister discussed the availability of oxygen & beds, use of Remdesivir, treatment protocols, increase in capacity of facilities, imposition of restrictions & fines for violating COVID protocols.”
Medical Education Minister Amit Deshmukh, state Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte and others took part in the meeting.
Thackeray is scheduled to hold consultations with the finance and other state departments on Monday and discussion will also take place in the cabinet meeting later this week.
Tope also said that setting up of an oxygen generation plant in the state was also discussed during the task force meeting.
Thackeray had on Saturday indicated the imposition of a strict lockdown in the state given the alarming rise in COVID-19 cases. He had held an all-party meeting held virtually to discuss the COVID-19 situation in the state.
Last Sunday, the state government had announced a slew of restrictions, including a weekend lockdown, night curfew and prohibitory orders for the day time. These restrictions will continue till April 30.
Amid Mumbai Lockdown Talk, Migrant Movement Seen On MP Route
A severe spike in COVID-19 cases in Mumbai and persistent talk of a “complete lockdown” there to tackle it has, like last year, made the national highway number 3 skirting past Madhya Pradesh’s commercial hub Indore a prime route for wary migrants returning home to states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
The number of motorcycles, black-and-yellow mini trucks and autorickshaws, teeming with migrants, have been on the rise over the past few days on a bypass road connected to this route, popularly known as Mumbai-Agra road, eye-witnesses said on Sunday.
“The virus outbreak has once again got very severe in Mumbai. There might be a lockdown and it may, like last year, render us jobless. So we have decided to return home,” said Ramsharan Singh (40), making his way back to Ballia in Uttar Pradesh in an autorickshaw.
Similar is the case with Mohammad Shadab, going back to his hometown in Bihar’s Bhojpur district.
“I work in a restaurant in Mumbai. I will think of returning there if the situation improves. Or else, I plan to stay back in Bihar and look for work,” he said.
Thanks to a weekend lockdown, and inter-state travel exempted from it, these vehicles moved past Indore quickly as normal traffic on the roads was thin.
Last year, the route witnessed bumper-to-bumper traffic as people trying to escape a crippling coronavirus- induced lockdown in Mumbai and adjoining areas made their way home to eastern and northern states in some of the most helpless and trying travel conditions.
Mumbai on Saturday reported 9,330 fresh cases and 28 deaths, taking the count of infections to 5,10,512 and the toll to 11,944.
Mumbai division, comprising the metropolis and adjoining districts, reported 18,241 new cases and 89 deaths during the day, raising the tally to 10,64,221 and the fatality count to 21,028.