Mumbai : Maharashtra continues to be worst-hit in the country as it recorded over 3,000 positive cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, taking the state tally to over 50,000. With 58 deaths due to the coronavirus pandemic reported during the day, the death toll in the state rose to 1635.
In view of the prevailing situation, the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray hinted at a possible extension of lockdown in the state after May 31, saying that it was wrong to impose the lockdown suddenly and that it cannot be lifted all at once.
The chief minister Thackeray said the next 15 days will be crucial and that the state might have to extend the lockdown beyond May 31 — the current deadline set by the government
Meanwhile, Maharashtra that has been unwilling to reopen its airports for passenger flights, made a U-turn on Sunday, deciding to allow 25 flights to and from Mumbai from Monday. The fresh decision was announced by the senior NCP leader and a cabinet minister Nawab Malik barely a couple of hours after Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray indicated that the state was not ready for such a move yet as the state has the maximum number of coronavirus cases in the country.
Malik claimed that he had a talk with the chief secretary, Ajoy Mehta and discussing the issue with all agencies, it has been decided that 25 flights will operate from Mumbai airport tomorrow. This number will increase slowly, he added.
On the other hand, in an address to the people of the state, Uddhav Thackeray had said on Sunday afternoon that he has spoken to aviation minister Hardeep Sigh Puri and told him that the state needs “more time to prepare” for passenger flights. The CMO had also said that only emergency flights will operate for now. The Chief Minister also said he wants the Mumbai airport to fine tune its operations and come up with a plan.
When the government has decided to start domestic flights from Monday, the Maharashtra Home minister expressed his reservation on the issue and said, “It’s extremely ill-advised to reopen airports in red zone. Mere thermal scanning of passengers inadequate without swabs. Impossible to have autos, cabs and buses ply in current circumstances. Adding positive passenger will add COVID stress to red zone.”
Getting passengers to come from a green zone to a red one putting them to risk of exposure doesn’t make sense. Keeping a busy airport up and running with all COVID-safety measures will need huge staff presence and compound risk in the red zone, Deshmukh further said.
Meantime, the number of Covid-19 cases in India on Sunday rose to 1, 31,868 lakh with 6,767 new infections reported in the last 24 hours. Of these, 73,560 cases are active infections, while 54,440 patients have been discharged. The death toll has climbed to 3,867 Globally, over 52-lakh people have been infected with the novel coronavirus, including 3.4-lakh deaths.