Highlighting that COVID-19 cases in the state are exploding at a dangerous rate, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday announced strict lockdown-like measures aimed to break the infection's chain. There will be 15-day 'corona curfew' with only essential services being allowed in the state.
As Maharashtra reported 60,212 fresh COVID-19 cases Tuesday, CM Uddhav Thackeray, in his virtual address to the state, said that public transport would be available only for those involved in essential services during the 15-day 'janta curfew' starting Wednesday (April 15). Section 144 will be imposed across Maharashtra from tomorrow which means no one will be allowed to venture out without valid reason. All public places will also remain shut for a fortnight.
Describing the situation as scary, Uddhav Thackeray said he has requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to allow procurement of oxygen from other states. He said that Maharashtra's healthcare system was under great pressure. Thackeray said he would also request the PM for taking Air Force, Army's help for tackling the shortage of oxygen and medicines in the state.
"Hospitals across the state are under tremendous pressure. The healthcare system is overburdened. The current situation is scary," Uddav Thackeray said.
"There is a scarcity of oxygen in the state. Would request the Centre to allow us to procure oxygen from other states. Air Force can be allowed to ferry oxygen cylinders from other states," he said, adding," We have to intensify vaccination to decrease the speed of this wave".
Maharashtra, which is contributing over half of the daily infections to the national tally, implemented limited restrictions earlier this month, which involved night and weekend curfews.
Addressing an all-party meeting last week, CM Uddhav Thackeray had hinted at the imposition of an extended lockdown in the state to curb the surge in cases. On Sunday, he held a meeting with members of the state COVID-19 task force and said a standard operating procedure (SoP) will be prepared after holding consultations.
Maharashtra had reported the highest 63,294 infections on Sunday, but the cases dropped significantly to 51,751 on Monday, apparently due to a lesser number of tests conducted over the weekend, taking the tally to 34,58,996. The overall death toll in the state is 58,245 as of Monday, as per the state health department.