Maharashtra: Covid-19 surge

After a surge in cases, the government has imposed September-like curbs in Amravati division—almost everything except essential services will be shut in cities, shops and establishments to remain open only from 9am to 5pm and restaurants to accept only parcel orders. In Pune district, where positivity rate is inching towards 10%, all schools, colleges and private coaching centres would remain closed till February 28 and only “limited movement” would be allowed on streets from11pm to 6am.

The other four districts in Amravati division will have restrictions like the ones during the mid-September Covid-19 peak

Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray warned that the state would impose a strict lockdown if people did not follow Covid-appropriate norms for the next eight days.

On a day the state saw 6,971 new Covid-19 cases, Thackeray announced a complete ban for a few days on all political, social and religious gatherings, processions, morchas and public protests to check the spread of the disease.

In a 30-minute talk on social media, the chief minister told the people that it was in their hands to prevent another lockdown.

“Now, my question to you is, should we impose a lockdown? I will seek this answer from you in the coming eight days. Those who do not want a lockdown will observe protocols like using masks, washing hands and keeping physical distance. People who want a lockdown again will flout these rules. Let us see who wants a lockdown, and who doesn’t. I am very clear about this. Wear a mask, prevent a lockdown. Observe discipline, prevent a lockdown,” he said.

Thackeray urged citizens to be more responsible. “We should implement an ‘I am responsible’ drive for self-discipline,” he said.

Referring to the increasing Covid-19 cases in the city and Pune, Thackeray warned about a second wave.

“The second wave has not yet come but it has been knocking at our door. It will be clear in the next one or two weeks,” he said.

Noting the spike in Covid-19 in Amravati, where a lockdown is to kick in again from Monday, he said the number of cases was as high as during the peak of the pandemic. “We have imposed a lockdown in Amravati and other districts from Monday evening,” he said. While it was said that the gram panchayat polls held last month were one of the reasons behind the increase in cases in rural parts, Thackeray appealed to all political parties, including his own Shiv Sena, to cooperate in the battle against Covid-19.

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