The Uddhav Thackeray government has considered the possibility of imposing a partial lockdown in Mumbai to bring the spread of Covid-19 under control as fresh cases in the city rose to over a four-month high.
Aslam Shaikh, the guardian minister for the city, told the Times of India that a partial lockdown may be imposed if the caseload is not brought under control in eight to ten days. The option was discussed at a cabinet meeting chaired by the CM, who expressed concern that active cases have gone back to the peak ranges seen in September.
Shaikh told the newspaper that the government will first try to control the infection by implementing measures like levying fines for not wearing a mask, or crowding at marriage halls and pubs. Institutional quarantine could be one option and increasing testing and speeding up vaccination programmes on a mass level could be other options. “Finally a partial lockdown could be imposed if cases continue to increase,” said Shaikh.
Even as the government weighs the option, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Monday said it has no plans to impose additional restrictions in Mumbai – a lockdown or even a night curfew as of now. The civic body’s chief Iqbal Singh Chahal told Network18’s CNBC-TV18 that the current Covid restrictions will continue and urged citizens to follow the guidelines.
A minister present in the Cabinet meeting said that before any partial lockdown, the option of institutional quarantine instead of home isolation will be explored. At present, Covid patients are asked to isolate at home. However, there have been reports that family members of patients are not taking adequate preventive measures, which is resulting in more cases. The minister further said that it is difficult to maintain social distancing in Mumbai and neighbouring areas.
After reporting more than 10,000 fresh coronavirus positive cases two days in a row, Maharashtra had on Sunday added 11,141 new infections. The number of fresh cases in Mumbai touched a 131-day high of 1,361.
There are also concerns that the state may hit 2 lakh active cases by April, if the current growth rate continues. A central team will visit the state to analyse why cases have continued to rise in the state.