Maharashtra: CM Thackeray warns of extending void-19 lockdown if restrictions violated

With the number of Coronavirus infected cases in Maharashtra inching towards the one-lakh mark, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray warned of lockdown extension if social distancing norms are not strictly followed by the citizens in the state. Taking to social media, the Maharashtra CM declared that complete lockdown could be re-imposed in the state again if the lockdown restrictions announced by Centre under Unlock 1.0 turn out to be risky.

He added that the government is taking cautious steps towards ‘Mission Begin Again’ – a set of guidelines introduced by the state government on May 31 attempting to restarting the economy in phases. CM Thackeray further maintained that while the lockdown restrictions have been eased, the danger is yet to pass.

“If the relaxations to the lockdown start turning out to be risky, we will be compelled to re-impose the lockdown,” he tweeted.

Earlier this month, the Maharashtra government extended the pandemic lockdown till June 30 allowing only a few services such as taxis, autorickshaws, and BEST buses in non-containment zone areas. Private offices were also allowed to operate with a reduced capacity of employees and adequate use of sanitization and social-distancing practices.

During a press briefing on Wednesday, he stated that the state is doing well in the fight against the pandemic, however, urged the people to follow social distancing norms.

“I am confident people will listen to the government’s rules and guidelines since it is taking care of their welfare. We have allowed relaxation so that people can go outside and do some exercise. Relaxations have not been given for people to fall ill,” the chief minister said.

Meanwhile, a week into the “Mission Begin Again”, Uddhav Thackeray government is also evaluating certain relaxation measures after reports of crowding in public spaces and non-adherence to social distancing regulations emerged across several parts of the state.

Amid rising cases, the state government is also reviewing the situation before restoring public transport services such as local trains and metro. In the process, Uddhav Thackeray has urged the Centre to allow local train services in Mumbai such that healthcare and essential workers can easily commute implying to the inconvenience they are facing in reaching the hospitals and other workplaces.

With over 90,000 Coronavirus positive reported cases, Maharashtra continues to be the state with the highest number of infections in India. While more than 42,000 people have recovered from the virus, the state has recorded over 3,200 COVID-related deaths so far. At the same time, Maharashtra’s capital city Mumbai has emerged to be India’s COVID-19 epicenter with over 51,000 recorded cases. It has reportedly surpassed the number of infected cases in China’s Wuhan, where the virus first emerged.

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