Published On : Sat, May 8th, 2021

Maharashtra: Rajesh Tope hints at extension of lockdown till May 31


The Maharashtra Government is likely to extend the lockdown with stringent curbs beyond May 15 for a few days as the daily COVID 19 cases are still 50,000 plus, announced Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope. Amid the second wave, the Maharashtra government had imposed a lockdown from April 22 to May 1. It was extended to May 15 to break the virus chain. Tope asserted that the Coronavirus crisis is still not over as there has been projection of a third wave.

The existing strict restrictions under the BreaktheChain order are expected to continue till May 31 across Maharashtra. Already districts, which are witnessing rise on COVID 18 infection and deaths, have announced total lockdown to break the virus chain. The state cabinet will take a decision.

“If the strict restrictions will be lifted then the situation may get out of hand once again. The government is geared up to tackle the third wave and is in the midst of ramping up the bed capacity, availability of Remdesivir and other medical facilities and also to achieve self-sufficiency in oxygen through Mission Oxygen. The government is also increasing the pace of vaccination,” said Tope.

Tope said even though the cases are falling in 12 districts other districts are showing increase. Further, the sharp rise in infection and deaths among children in the age group of 0-18 is a matter of deep concern. The government has therefore decided to set up a special Task Force comprising leading pediatricians to suggest the treatment protocols.

Tope’s statement came on a day when the state had reported new 53,605 cases and 864 deaths while a record 82,266 were discharged. State’s progressive COVID 19 cases were reported at 5053336, discharged 4347592, active 628313 and deaths 75,277. The Public Health Department in its presentation to the state cabinet on Wednesday had projected that there would be 6,97,993 active cases by May 16.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray early this week spelt out the state government’s strategy to tackle the third wave of COVID 19 predicted by the country’s Chief Scientific Advisor. The government has launched a massive exercise to strengthen the health infrastructure, improve supply of medicines and oxygen and reduce stress on medical and paramedical staff.

The government under the Mission Oxygen proposes to increase the oxygen availability at 3,000 MT from the present level of 1,700 MT comprising 1,200 MT from within the state and balance from supply allocated by the Centre.

Even though the supply of Remdesivir vials from the Centre is slowly improving, the government hopes that the state receives more injections.

Thackeray has reiterated that the state government is prepared to make a one-time payment for the procurement of 12 crore doses needed to vaccinate nearly 6 crore citizens from the age group of 18-44 years. He said the government aims to vaccinate 8 to 9 lakh citizens daily.