Maharashtra will not see a complete lockdown, but district-wise stringent restrictions and containment zones, sources in the Maharashtra government told CNN-News18.
Sources added that a fresh set of Standard of Proceedures (SOPs) on the curbs was likely to be made public by April 1 or 2.
Relief and Rehabilitation Secretary Aseemkumar Gupta said consultations on the matter were ongoing. “We are in the middle of hectic discussions. We will let all know as soon as a decision is made,” he said.
State Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has asked him to prepare fresh SOPs on further restrictions to be implemented amid a rise in Covid-19 cases, and deaths. While Thackeray had directed the administrative machinery to prepare for a complete lockdown, there has been a severe pushback from both the MVA allies – NCP and Congress. According to them, a complete lockdown would result in economic harm.
“We are looking at more district-wise containment zones and local level restrictions. The idea is to curb clusters. We don’t want to stop those going out for work, or attending to essential services,” said Vinita Ved Singhal, Principal Secretary in the Labour Department.
She added that the government was, however, looking to “bring restrictions on pleasure activities that lead to public gatherings.”
Thereby, malls, shopping complexes, theatres may not shut down completely but likely face further restrictions. Such curbs may also be imposed on unnecessary movement of people.
“We do not want to see such a spike in the number of cases that things go out of control. With Covid inappropriate behaviour on the rise, certain restrictions will have to be imposed to avoid gatherings,” Maharashtra Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte told CNN News18.
“The problem is primarily of asymptomatic people. They don’t know they are affected. So they end up being in public and spreading the virus. We are worried about such a scenario,” Singhal said.