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As Covid-19 Cases Surge Again, Is Maharashtra Headed for Lockdown 2.0?

Image for representation. (Image: AP)

Image for representation. (Image: AP)

A large number of health workers in Amaravati, including 19 who have taken the vaccine, got infected.

Coronavirus is spreading faster in Maharashtra even after the vaccination drive is going in full swing. The rise in the number of new cases in the state is now a big worry for the government and it is mulling several options to contain the virus.

Hotspot Amaravati

In Amaravati, reports say that even a large number of health workers have also got infected recently, among them 19 had taken the vaccine. This was actually a warning sign for the city to take immediate preventive measures to avoid more infections. Some of the people of Amaravati had taken the Covid-19 infection lightly and from marriage functions to the shopping malls, they did not follow the rules. Now the situation is that this city in Vidarbha is the new coronavirus hotspot.

Actually, this is not the story of Amaravati only. From Vidarbha to Mumbai and also in Pune, coronavirus is once again raising its head in several parts of the State.

But first talk about Amaravati where active cases were only 399 till recently and now it has increased phenomenally. In the last 14 days, Amaravati has seen 3,154 new cases. If we look at the data for the last five days, from February 10 onwards, the number of cases has risen from 315 to 359 the next day and to 369 the day after, 376 on February 13, 399 on February 14 and this number has increased to 449 on February 15. In February, the test positivity rate in the city was between 22 per cent and 56 per cent, which is very alarming.

Lowering the guard has its downside

During the Christmas and New Year celebrations, it was feared that Maharashtra might see a second wave of infections. After this the new strain of coronavirus also created panic among the people. But all these worries passed off peacefully. However, not following the rules of avoiding infections is proving costly in the city.
Now take the example of Amaravati. For the last one month, a huge crowd has been witnessed on the occasion of marriage and other celebrations. In such a situation, the rule of social distancing was thrown to winds. Not only marriage ceremonies, but big malls and shopping complexes had huge footfalls and people were not wearing masks and rules were followed. Now the situation is that the schools were closed once again in the city and many strict rules have made a comeback including section 144 and others.

Spike in Vidarbha

Many cities in the Vidarbha region are witnessing continuous spikes in coronavirus cases. Akola reported over 1,000 new cases. This city is emerging as the second hotspot after Amaravati in this region and the test positive rate in this city has crossed 10 per cent. Here too, huge crowds gather on the occasion of marriages and other public functions. Now again the administration has put the restriction and no more than 50 people are allowed in the marriage functions. Apart from this, on Tuesday night, the administration is going to clamp Section 144 in the city once again.

Apart from Akola, the biggest city of Vidarbha, Nagpur is also witnessing a heavy spike in covid-19 cases. For the last one week, more than 400 cases are being reported every day.

Mumbai’s ‘Fast Local’

In Mumbai also, the spike in covid-19 cases has been noticed. On February 5, Mumbai reported just 415 new cases. Now for the last 10 days, the daily figure for new cases has crossed 600. On February 14, 645 new cases of coronavirus were reported in the city.

It is also said that the starting of local train operations in Mumbai may plunge the city into a new wave of infections. Till the last month, the number of new cases was coming down. But now after starting the local trains, the cases are again rising. The municipal head of the city, Kishor Pednekar, said that he is worried about the rising cases of coronavirus once again. People are not wearing masks when they are travelling by train. Now it’s upon people to decide whether they want the restrictions back again in the city.

Pune is again in trouble

At one time, Pune was the biggest Covid-19 hotspot of the country and now once again, the city is slipping into the crisis. On February 14, the city had 354 new cases and the next day, it increased to 396. Here the positive rate has crossed 10 per cent. At one point when Pune had the maximum number of coronavirus infected people, the local administration adopted a specific strategy to contain the infection and it was controlled. But it seems that people have forgotten those days and once again they are moving around without masks and not following the rules and this has increased the problems of all and sundry.

Return of the lockdown?

The spike in the number of cases in the State is now a big worry for the government. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has taken this issue very seriously and called an emergency meeting of all the district collectors and senior officers in the State. It is said that the State is mulling to impose the restrictions once again.
Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar also said a day before in Aurangabad that it is paramount to save the lives of the people in the State. Coronavirus needs to be contained and he would discuss the issue with the Chief Minister. He said that the State government may be compelled once again to take harsh decisions and people should be mentally ready for this.

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