Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is under pressure from his cabinet colleagues to impose a total lockdown in the state, which is reeling under a severe second wave of COVID-19.
State Health Minister Rajesh Tope said a decision is likely on Wednesday (April 21) after 8 pm.
“We have requested the CM to announce a complete lockdown in the state from tomorrow at 8 pm. This was the request of all ministers to CM, now it is his decision,” Tope was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Maharashtra has been consistently reporting in excess of 50,000 coronavirus cases every day. On Tuesday (April 20), the state reported 58,924 cases and 351 deaths in a span of 24 hours.
The state’s health machinery is under extreme load with hospitals facing shortage of beds, medicines and oxygen.
Considering the rising number of cases, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had imposed 15-day restrictions in the state, starting April 14, besides maintaining complete lockdown on weekends.
Maharashtra is still the worst-affected state in the country, accounting for 3/4th of the overall national tally of cases every day. Maharashtra reported highest-ever number of COVID cases in a day – 68,631 – on Sunday. However, the number of daily cases dipped significantly to 58,924 on Monday.
Meanwhile, the Delhi government has already announced a six-day lockdown in the national capital from April 20 to April 26. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said that the move was required because rising COVID cases has put a lot of pressure on the city’s health infrastructure. “Delhi’s health system is at a breaking point. I will not say it has collapsed but the COVID situation is pretty critical,” Kejriwal had said on Monday. Meanwhile, Kejriwal said on Tuesday that Delhi hospitals have very few hours of oxygen left.
The Jharkhand government too on Tuesday declared a weeklong lockdown in the state starting April 22 with certain relaxations.
Karnataka is contemplating a lockdown as well. The state reported 15,785 new cases, and a record 146 fatalities on Monday. Bengaluru Urban alone recorded 9,618 new infections. State Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai and Revenue Minister R Ashoka met Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala at the Raj Bhavan in Bengaluru on Tuesday, ahead of the all-party meeting scheduled to take place this evening.
The state government is thinking of extending the night curfew by two hours in Bengaluru and extend it to other districts which are reporting high number of cases. The state may also impose a 10-day closure on cinemas, pubs, gyms and colleges. The state cabinet is likely to take a decision on all these proposals on Tuesday evening. If approved, the restrictions will come into effect from Wednesday (April 21) itself.