May Extend Covid Restrictions By 15 Days: Maharashtra Minister

Maharashtra has over 6.7 lakh active coronavirus cases – more than Uttar Pradesh (3.06 lakh) and Karnataka (3.01 lakh) combined

The final call on extending Covid-related restrictions will be taken by Chief Minister Thackeray (File)


Maharashtra is likely to extend existing Covid-related restrictions by 15 days, state Health Minister Rajesh Tope was quoted by news agency PTI on Wednesday. The proposal was made at a cabinet meeting earlier today, but the final decision will be made by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.

“It (the lockdown) will be extended by 15 days,” Mr Tope was quoted as saying.

The state has, meanwhile, confirmed it will provide free vaccines for people between 18 and 44.

“Today, the Cabinet under the leadership of Chief Minister Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray has decided to provide free COVID-19 vaccination to all the citizens of Maharashtra aged between 18-44years. #BreakTheChain,” a tweet from the Chief Minister’s Office said.

Across India over 100 crore people in this age group can get the vaccines from May 1 – part of the centre’s “liberalised” vaccination policy that emerged after the devastating second Covid wave.

After the meeting, Chief Minister Thackeray clarified that the state health department is planning for the vaccination program and the citizens will be informed about it in advance.

“We have been fighting the battle of COVID for the last one and a half years. Vaccination has been started in the state since January in collaboration with the Center. To date, more than 1.5 crore people under the age of 45 have been vaccinated. This is a record in the country,” he said.

Last week the state – the worst hit by the pandemic – announced a series of measures to combat the spike in cases. These measures, which included limiting attendance at non-essential private and government offices, and use of public transport – were to stay till 7 am on May 1.

Restrictions were also imposed on weddings and social events, and shops selling groceries, dairy products and vegetables were allowed to open for only four hours – 7 am to 11 am per day.

Chief Minister Thackeray had earlier announced a night curfew and weekend lockdown.

Maharashtra has over 6.7 lakh active coronavirus cases – more than Uttar Pradesh (3.06 lakh) and Karnataka (3.01 lakh) combined – and over 66,000 deaths have been recorded so far.

On Tuesday the state reported 66,358 new cases in 24 hours – compared to 48,700 on Sunday, 35,726 from a month ago and fewer than 9,000 just two months ago.

With input from PTI

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