CM Thackeray Warns of Lockdown in Maharashtra Over COVID Surge

The surge has been attributed to local trains which has seen over 3.5 million people commute since services resumed.

3 min read

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Video Editor: Puneet Bhatia

In light of the surge of COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday, 16 February, asked district collectors to strongly enforce social distancing protocols, without showing any leniency towards rule breakers.

"It is up to the people to decide whether they want the lockdown back or roam freely with some restrictions. If people do not wear masks or follow health rules, then the district and police administration has a responsibility to strictly enforce these rules,” Uddhav Thackeray said, as quoted by India Today.

In a meeting with municipal commissioners, district collectors, the state COVID task force and senior health officials, Thackeray announced a temporary hold on rallies, gatherings, protests, or events, with only an exemption for weddings, which have also been limited to a 50 people capacity, noted The Indian Express.

The CM warned venues and restaurants that their licences will be revoked if COVID-19 protocols, including wearing masks, are not diligently followed. He further asked for regular disinfection of public spaces, as well as increased testing for commuters.

Thackeray asked for trace contact tests to be done for up to 20 people who may have come in contact with someone who has tested positive, especially in containment zones, and instructed collectors to inquire about the health of individuals experiencing co-morbodities, reported India Today.

Additional Municipal Commissioner of BMC, Suresh Kakani told ANI that the COVID situation is being closely reviewed. “If the cases continue to rise and people ignore COVID norms and regulations, then BMC will not hesitate in taking a strong measure within the next 10 days,” Kakani added.

Mumbai Mayor Warns of Impending Lockdown

Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar on Tuesday, 16 February, urged citizens to take precautions and warned that the city may go into lockdown considering the reported surge in coronavirus cases.

“It’s a matter of concern. Most people travelling in trains don’t wear masks. People must take precautions or we will head towards another lockdown. Whether a lockdown will be implemented again is in the hands of people,” Pednekar said, as quoted by ANI.

On Monday, Mumbai reported 493 new COVID cases, with the total caseload tally mounting to 3,14,569.

So far, the total number of deaths is at 11,420. The surge has been attributed to local trains in the city, which opened up on 1 February, and has seen over 3.5 million people commute after services resumed, reported Hindustan Times.

Earlier, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar had called the COVID-19 spike in the city “alarming,” and added that "Harsh decisions can be taken and people should remain prepared. If certain decisions are not taken in time then we will have to pay a heavy cost later,” reported Hindustan Times.

Maharashtra Government, on 29 January, extended COVID-19 restrictions in the state till 28 February after the surge in cases caused concern over coronavirus protocols not being followed.

Delhi Records Lowest Cases

Meanwhile, the capital city has recorded the lowest cases in over nine months, with 94 fresh COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, with a positivity rate of 0.17 percent in Delhi, reported PTI. The death toll is now 10,894 cases.

The number of active cases is now 1,036 on Tuesday. Total number of tests conducted on Monday included 34,679 RT-PCR tests and 22,265 rapid antigen tests, quoted PTI.

(With inputs from PTI, ANI, The Indian Express and Hindustan Times.)

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