Health minister Rajesh Tope said Mumbai, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region and Pune region account for nearly 91% of cases, and it is not likely any relaxation will be given there. There are only 9% cases from other parts of the state. Also, there are 8 districts in the state where there is not a single case so far, which qualify as green zones. The lockdown will be made more stringent in areas with most cases, Tope said.
Officials said they are waiting for revised guidelines from the Centre on the basis of which the state notification will be drafted. A formal announcement of the extension of the national lockdown by PM Modi is also expected.
“A concept of ‘lock-in’ was discussed by PM Modi in the VC. Under this, if industries can assure they will house all their staff inside their premises and follow all safety protocols, such industries can be allowed to function in green zones or parts of orange zones that are way from hotspot areas. All this we will make clear in the notification that will be out by Monday,” said an official.
Thackeray said the government is trying to break the chain of transmission and the attempts are working but would take some more time. “There are many questions about schools, colleges, exams, all of those will be answered by the state by April 14,” the CM said.
Officials said there was no ban on agriculture-related activities in the state. But it was made clear in the VC that people stranded, including migrant workers, will have to remain where they are, with states taking their responsibility. There are over 6 lakh migrant workers in relief camps in the state.
Anandini Thakoor, trustee, Khar Residents’ Association, said government needs to have an organised method to deliver vegetables and fruits. “If supplies are hit, there will be chaos. The government should ensure fixed hours for supply of essentials in every locality. Frequent announcements should be made.,” Thakoor said.
Neeraj Hatekar, professor of econometrics, Mumbai School of Economics and Public Policy, said, “Rural areas are hit. Farmers are growing vegetables, but there is no labour available to pick them. A few cases in rural areas could be contained. The government should ensure work starts in these regions,.”
Partha Majumder, president of Indian Academy of Sciences, said, “States could identify hotspots and impose stringent lockdown there. A complete lockdown will otherwise become an unsustainable proposition, with people dying of hunger. But surveillance testing is a must in non-hotspot regions.”
A discussion on the high death rate in Maharashtra and Mumbai took place at the PM’s VC. “We explained to the PM the death rate is high due to co-morbidities and age factors. But attempts are being made to ensure not a single life is lost and casesidentified early,” Tope said.
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