Maharashtra Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Vijay Wadettiwar on Monday said the government was contemplating easing COVID-19-induced lockdown-like curbs in districts outside the “red zone” after June 1.
Talking to reporters here, he said 15 districts (out of total 36) are in the “red zone” (high caseload) and the curbs there could be made stricter.
Buldhana, Kolhapur, Ratnagiri, Sangli, Yavatmal, Amravati, Sindhdurg, Solapur, Akola, Satara, Washim, Beed, Gadchiroli, Ahmednagar and Osmanabad are the districts where coronavirus cases are still on the rise, the minister said. “There is a demand for easing restrictions where COVID-19 cases have reduced. The government may ease restrictions in districts where cases are coming down. It will take a decision after observing the situation for four to five more days ” he said.
Wadettiwar said suburban trains in Mumbai will not be opened to all for another 15 days at least. “Social distancing is not possible in local trains. They will continue to ply for essential services staffers only,” he said.
Home quarantine system for COVID-19 patients has now been replaced with institutional quarantine in districts where the coronavirus cases are increasing, the minister said. He said a long-term rehabilitation policy for people affected by natural disasters is being worked out. Parts of Maharashtra were affected by the cyclonic storm Tauktae which brushed past the state last week.
In the coastal Sindhudurg district, a sum of Rs 639 crore will be required for laying an underground electricity cable network, he said.
Meanwhile, the central government on Monday said there has been a continuous decrease in Covid-19 cases since India reported its peak on May 7. India has reported less than 3 lakh daily cases since May 17, the government said during its health briefing.
Joint secretary in the Union health ministry Lav Agarwal said there has been a steady decline in case positivity rate too. The current positivity rate stands at 11.53%. On vaccination, the government said as many as 19.60 crore people have been vaccination so far, out of which 1.06 crore are in the 18-44 age group.
India reported more than 3 lakh deaths due to Covid-19, just 12 days after going past the 2.5-lakh mark. The country has recorded 1 lakh deaths from the virus in the past 26 days, becoming the only country in the world where the toll, in terms of milestones of 50,000, has risen by 1,00,000 in under 30 days. At the height of its third wave in December-January, the death toll in the US had increased from 3.5 lakh to 4.5 lakh in 31 days. In May alone, more than 92,000 deaths have been recorded in 23 days so far. That’s almost twice the toll in April, when 48,768 deaths were reported, which was a record for any month till then, the Times of India reported. Several experts have said many deaths during the second wave had not been counted in the official statistics, pointing to major discrepancies in the number of Covid protocol cremations across cities and the Covid fatalities reported there in the past couple of months.
While the number of fresh cases has declined steadily after infections in the country peaked around May 8, the daily toll has not decreased by much. The seven-day rolling average of daily cases was down 32% since the peak on May 8, when the average stood at over 3.91 lakh. On May 22, the index was at 2.64 lakh.