Maharashtra Working to Soften The Blow as Lockdown 2.0 Looms

An appropriate decision regarding imposing a lockdown in Maharashtra will be taken after April 14, state Health Minister Rajesh Tope said after a virtual meeting of the Covid-19 task force chaired by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to discuss measures, including the imposition of a lockdown in the state, to break the virus chain.

For the next two days, the Maharashtra government is holding a slew of meetings in a bid to lessen the blow on the economically weaker sections that will be hit hard when the lockdown is imposed.

After a crucial meeting with the state’s Covid-19 Task Force, where Uddhav Thackeray proposed an at least eight-day shutdown which was reportedly met well by experts who called it ‘the only option’, the Maharashtra chief minister also held a meeting with top bureaucrats to draw up a foolproof plan that will help the state ‘battle future Covid-19 waves too’.

Sources told CNN-News18 that a lockdown is imminent and the only question before the state machinery is the quantum. Officials privy to the Task Force meeting said that while Thackeray favoured only an eight-day lockdown, medical experts pushed for 14 days for Maharashtra to successfully emerge from the claws of the deadly pandemic whose second wave is turning out to be more virulent.

According to sources, a team of top officers have been tasked with drawing up the contours of the new SOPs – they are likely to be ready by tomorrow.

CM Thackeray is slated to hold a meeting with the finance department tomorrow morning and their inputs on a financial package are being sought.

Apart from the fresh SOPs to handle this wave, the state is also aiming at 60-70 per cent vaccination of the target population so that the next wave is more manageable, officials said.

“The current condition is critical. Not much option before the government,” said a bureaucrat who was part of the meeting.

Thackeray had on Saturday indicated the imposition of a strict lockdown in the state given the alarming rise in Covid-19 cases. He had held an all-party meeting held virtually to discuss the Covid-19 situation in the state. Last Sunday, the state government had announced a slew of restrictions, including a weekend lockdown, night curfew and prohibitory orders for the day time. These restrictions will continue till April 30.

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