May consider lockdown again in Maharashtra after watching for 8-10 days: Ajit Pawar

Both the chief minister and deputy CM of Maharashtra raised the spectre of a potential post-Diwali surge in Covid cases with the latter hinting at the possibility of reimposing a lockdown in case the situation warrants it.

Ajit Pawar
ET Spotlight
PUNE/MUMBAI: Both the chief minister and deputy CM of Maharashtra raised the spectre of a potential post-Diwali surge in Covid cases with the latter hinting at the possibility of reimposing a lockdown in case the situation warrants it.

Ajit Pawar said government will review the situation over the next 8-10 days before weighing the need for re-introducing restrictions based on an assessment of positivity rate and spread. He referred to Delhi and Ahmedabad where curbs were brought back.

"I do not wish to create panic...by making a statement about lockdown unless and until we understand the situation properly. There were huge crowds during Diwali," Pawar added.


Meanwhile, Uddhav Thackeray, in an address, again warned that a second wave would be a tsunami and urged strict adherence to social distancing and masks. "Should we head towards a lockdown again?" he asked, rhetorically.
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No decision yet on night curfew, but we’re at a turning point: CM

Ajit Pawar said on Sunday that the resurgence seen in Covid-positive cases after the Ganesh festival may have a sequel in the post-Diwali period. “Most public programmes were cancelled (during Ganpati), but because of workers of a few mandals organising gatherings, it led to an increase in positive cases. Now review is being taken because people have ventured out for Diwali festival.”

The rise in Covid-19 cases across Maharashtra, including Mumbai, over the last four days is far less steep. But all the same, a total of 5,760 cases and 62 deaths were reported on Saturday, taking the state’s caseload to 17,74,455 and toll to 46,573.
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Regarding reopening of schools, Pawar said various local government authorities are considering the situation in their own surroundings and taking the call accordingly. The state has issued standard operating procedures and guidelines for restarting schools, he added.

The CM’s speech, on the other hand, primarily focused on the precautions to be taken like wearing a mask, avoid crowds, washing hands and adhering to social distancing norms. He said there have been suggestions to impose night curfew in Maharashtra, but a decision had not been taken. He said the Covid situation was at an inflexion point and it was up to citizens to choose the direction the state would take.

CM Uddhav Thackeray pointed out that cases in the state have reduced with the help of frontline workers and cooperation from citizens. “But now we are at a turning point and we have to choose the direction (to take). Should we head towards a lockdown?” he asked.

“Some people have been suggesting night curfew. But I feel everything cannot be solved by imposing a law… people in Maharashtra have cooperated with me during Diwali by not using firecrackers. In the same way, I am telling you all, do not step out unnecessarily and approach a clinic if any symptoms are observed.”
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About re-opening schools, Thackeray said it was still undecided. “Do not think that Covid is over because everything has reopened. We have decided to reopen schools but there is a question mark over it. Students or teachers should not catch infections.”

Thackeray also indirectly taunted the BJP which had organised protests for reopening places of worship.
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