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Uddhav preps Maharashtra for lockdown with ‘minimum economic disruption’


Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday asked the state’s administration to prepare for a lockdown in view of rising number of Covid-19 cases.

Hospital beds in some districts are becoming scarce as Covid-19 cases spike. “There should not be any kind of confusion among the people once a lockdown is announced,” said Thackeray in a meeting to review health infrastructure in the state.

Thackeray asked the relief and rehabilitation department to prepare a standard operating procedure for a short lockdown.

“In an event of lockdown, our strategy will be to ensure that disruption of economic activity is minimum,” said chief secretary Sitaram Kunte. Construction sites, factories and other establishments where social distancing is possible may be allowed to function. Visitors will be banned at all government offices.

Over 35,000 new Covid-19 cases were registered in Maharashtra on Saturday: over 60 per cent of the national cases. Pune, Nagpur, Mumbai, Thane and Nashik are the most affected districts, accounting for a bulk of the cases. Delay in testing and hospitalisation and non adherence to quarantine and isolation norms is causing the spike in cases. Even people aged 10-17 are getting infected, task force members told Thackeray.

“The proportion of Covid-19 patients requiring ICU treatment is still low. But if the cases continue to rise and people do not show appropriate behavior our health infrastructure will be overwhelmed,” Kunte said.

The state administration has banned gathering of five or more persons between 8 pm-7 am. Cinema halls, malls, restaurants and public spaces like beaches and gardens too will be shut in those hours.

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