April 30 deadline still ‘ambitious’: Maharashtra officials

April 14, 2020

Mumbai: While Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has already extended the lockdown in the state till April 30, government officials told ET that the fresh deadline of April 30 looks too ‘ambitious’ and it may well extend into the next month.

Several officials that ET has spoken to said that it could take until mid-May or even the end of May for corona cases to come down to single digits or to stop completely. In fact, several officials from the state health department as well as those from affected places like Mumbai and Pune said that the state could breathe easy only around mid-May.

“Our assessment is that we need some more time to get a handle on the situation, we need new cases to fall drastically, we still don’t know whether we have reached the peak or it is yet to come. So, April 30 is too early, especially as we are getting hundreds of fresh cases daily,” said a state health department official.

Another civic official from Mumbai also echoed the point on not knowing whether corona cases have reached the peak. “We are getting around 200 new cases daily on an average, so we don’t know whether we have reached the peak. We need to first reduce the number of new infections. To think that by April 30 things would go back to normal is being extremely optimistic,” he said. Officials from Pune, which has the highest number of cases after Mumbai, also said that it will take time to bring the situation under control.

The assertion by state health authorities and Mumbai and Pune officials means that parts of the state may still be facing restrictions on movement of people and for starting industries beyond April 30.

“If you want the lockdown to be lifted after 15 days, then ideally you want the number of new cases to be in single digits now,” said a state government official.

State Seeks District-level Plan to Restart Eco Activities

The state government has asked district officials to send a detailed report on the kind of economic activities that could be allowed in their jurisdictions keeping in mind the spread of coronavirus

All the districts in the state will be graded into red (high number of infections), orange (number of cases less than 15) and green (zero infection) zones as suggested by the Centre. The state government has asked district collectors to submit their report on Monday. CM Uddhav Thackeray will be also holding a meeting on allowing economic activities soon.

Officials said that small and medium enterprises in green and orange zones could be allowed to work with social distancing norms in place. But the most worrisome fact is that most of the state’s economic and industrial clusters in places like Mumbai, Thane, Palghar are in the red zone.

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Source : economictimes.indiatimes.com