Mumbai: Maharashtra will enforce a night curfew from Sunday, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s office said, as the state struggles with its biggest surge in coronavirus infections since the beginning of the pandemic.
Shopping malls will be closed from 8 pm to 7 am ,said the Maharashtra’s CM’s office.
Mr Thackeray warned of stricter restrictions if the people did not follow COVID-19 safety rules. He said that district chiefs will decide when to order lockdowns but said that there will not be any sudden state-wide lockdown and the public will be given advance notice.
The chief minister reviewed the Covid-19 situation in the state in a meeting with divisional commissioners, district collectors, superintendents of police and deans of medical colleges.
“I do not wish to impose lockdown. But there seems a possibility of healthcare facilities falling short given the rise in number of coronavirus patients,” Mr Thackeray was quoted as saying in a statement released by his office.
He asked officials to ensure availability of adequate hospital beds and medicines, the statement said.
Maharashtra recorded 36,902 coronavirus infections on Friday, the highest one-day rise since the pandemic began, along with 112 deaths. The state has added over 1.3 lakh cases in five days. Mumbai also surpassed it’s record of 5,504 cases from yesterday with 5,513 new infections and nine deaths.
Cases have spiked across several states in since late February, following a near-full reopening of the economy and flouting of safety measures such as the wearing of face masks and social distancing, health officials say.
More than half the new infections were reported from Maharashtra, home to financial capital Mumbai, where millions have returned to work in offices and factories.
The local government imposed a full lockdown for ten days in the worst-affected towns Nanded and Beed following a cabinet meeting.
“It was suggested to allow local administration to impose localized lockdowns instead of imposing lockdown across the state,” said a senior government official who declined to be named, referring to comments made during the meeting.
Maharashtra has also reported a new variant of the virus, called a “double mutant,” adding to concerns about the surge in cases.
India’s overall case load stands at 1.18 crore, the third-highest behind the United States and Brazil. The country reported 257 new deaths, taking the overall tally to 1,60,949, data showed.
Businesses have been urging governments to ease curbs in the run-up to the festival of Holi this weekend. Restrictions have been lifted in the city of Nagpur in Maharashtra and large crowds have been seen in shopping areas, state police said.
“It is a Catch-22 wherein closure of shops led to a lot of inconvenience for traders and people but on the other side is COVID, which is spreading,” police commissioner Amitesh Kumar told reporter.