State may extend lockdown even after April 14

CM Uddhav Thackeray

Mumbai :– Amid the rising number of COVID-19 cases, the state is unlikely to lift travel curbs in Maharashtra even if the lockdown by the Centre is lifted on April 15th. Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared a three-week country-wide lockdown from midnight on March 24 to break the cycle of Coronavirus infections in India. Signalling the rising threat from the spread of COVID-19, Modi said this drastic measure was necessary to protect the state of India’s health and its economy.

A close source from mantralaya informed that the state administration may need at least till the end of April to get a handle on the situation. The total number of people infected in the state has gone up to around 1050, the highest in the country. The state capital, Mumbai is the worst-hit area followed by Pune.

According to sources, travel curbs, especially in India’s financial capital Mumbai and neighbouring cities like Thane and Pune, are likely to continue. Local train services and BEST buses may be curtailed or completely suspended till the end of April till the government gets a better sense of the risks involved. Shutting down of train and bus services effectively brings Mumbai and its adjoining areas like Thane and Kalyan to a halt as lakhs of commuters use public transport.

It was said that the state would need another 15 days till the end of April or till a significant drop in new cases is recorded to think of resumption of services. Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope has already indicated a few days back that things won’t go back to normal immediately. Sources said the government is still hoping the situation turns for the better in the next few days. They, however, added that an overwhelming consensus was that travel curbs needed to be enforced for a bit longer in the state. Such indicated was also given by the state chief minister Uddhav Thackeray during an emergent meeting, held on Tuesday.