As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has spiked to 1,666 in Maharashtra, the state government on Saturday (April 11) extended the 21-day lockdown until April 30.
Announcing this, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said the government would ease restrictions in certain areas during the extended period and make them stricter in other places. Thackeray said he had conveyed the decision to Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a meeting via video conferencing.
The lockdown will continue till April 30th. Instructions about examinations in schools, universities, allowing industries to be operational, will be given soon. I request you to not panic.
— CMO Maharashtra (@CMOMaharashtra) April 11, 2020
Earlier, Odisha and Punjab had formally extended the lockdown period until April 30. Thackeray said the decision regarding pending examinations, restarting of industrial units and the migrant workers stranded in the state will be announced before April 14.
“Maharashtra has always shown the path to the country. In the present crisis too, the state will lead in defeating the coronavirus,” the Chief Minister said in a video broadcast. Thackeray also asked people not to panic and called for a “continuous and determined” fight against the virus.
He further said that the complete lifting of the lockdown will depend upon how soon the chain of the coronavirus transmission is broken in the country’s most-affected state. As many as 92 fresh cases were reported in Maharashtra on April 11. The state has so far witnessed 110 deaths due to the infection, while 188 patients have been cured.
The Chief Minister said the state had so far tested over 33,000 samples, out of which nearly 19,000 were from Mumbai. Talking about the cases in Mumbai, which has been hit the hardest by the outbreak, Thackeray said, “60 to 70 per cent of the nearly 1,000 coronavirus positive persons in Mumbai have displayed mild or very mild symptoms”.
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“Those who had unfortunately died had other ailments as well, and most of them had come to hospitals during the last stage (of their illness),” he said.
According to the Mumbai civic body, the tally of COVID-19 cases in the country’s financial capital mounted to 993 with 64 deaths, as on Friday. Appealing to people to work from home wherever possible, the Chief Minister acknowledged that there is uncertainty and anxiety all around due to the lockdown.
“The number of coronavirus positive patients is increasing…Everyone is at home and we don’t know what to do,” he said. Meanwhile, the Chief Minister admitted that some persons, who had returned from foreign countries not listed by the Centre for the coronavirus check during the initial days, were not tested at the international airport.
(With inputs from agencies)