Mumbai: Maharashtra observed the first day of a weekend lockdown after five days of daytime restrictions and night curfews, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray Saturday indicated that the state government would likely impose a longer lockdown of up to 15 days to break the chain of infection, starting Monday, April 12.
At a meeting of representatives from the ruling three-party Maha Vikas Aghadi, and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, he sought the cooperation of all parties for any decision that the state will take in this regard.
Thackeray was assured support by all those present, including former Chief Minister and leader of opposition Devendra Fadnavis. Fadnavis demanded that the government spell out a detailed plan to allay the fears of people about job losses and livelihood issues during the lockdown.
Maharashtra on Saturday recorded 55,411 fresh Covid-19 cases with 9,330 cases in Mumbai. Both the state and city have seen a marginal drop in fresh infections due to restrictions introduced in public movement over the week. The active caseload in the state is 5.36 lakh. Deaths have risen since March with 309 fatalities on Saturday alone.
Since the last four days, Maharashtra has recorded over 300 Covid-19 deaths. “As an opposition party, we are willing to lend our support to the government and reach out to all constituents affected by lockdown.
But at the same time, while explaining the reasons for extreme measures, we have to give them some options to reconcile with the challenges. The economic concerns cannot be dismissed,” he said at the meeting.
Another official said one view that emerged from the meeting was that the lockdown should be in effect until reduction in cases is reported for five continuous days. “What if the cases continue to rise even after 15 days of complete lockdown. It is difficult to have a deadline for this, so it was argued that the lockdown should continue until cases drop for five continuous days,” said the official.
The Chief Minister said the government would be mindful of the economic impact of the lockdown on the poor. “The government will certainly consider this. But it is very important to first prevent the rapidly increasing infection and rising cases,” he said.