Mumbai and some other cities in Maharashtra, fighting a huge spurt in coronavirus cases, will extend the lockdown scheduled to end on May 17. Mumbai has reported nearly 1,000 Covid19 cases on Thursday, taking its total to over 16,500 cases.
Maharashtra’s Industry Minister Subhash Desai confirmed to NDTV that the lockdown will be extended in Mumbai and other major cities.
“Looking at the situation we see that lockdown has to continue in some areas. Our first challenge is to fight coronavirus,” the minister said on Thursday.
“Looking at the rate of increase of virus cases, we have to extend the lockdown in Mumbai, Pune, Solapur, Aurangabad and Malegaon town in Nashik district till May 31. The state’s view will be conveyed to the centre in writing,” said Mr Desai.
The minister said Maharashtra is planning major sops for industry to rejuvenate economic activity. Maharashtra is expected to have over 50,000 cases by the end of May with a majority of them in Mumbai.
Besides Mumbai, the lockdown may be extended in Pune, Solapur, Aurangabad and Malegaon, which have had the maximum number of virus cases in the state.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray held a meeting on Thursday to discuss extending restrictions in these cities.
Maharashtra has close to 26,000 coronavirus cases and nearly 1,000 deaths. Mumbai accounts for 15,747 cases and 596 deaths.
With the rising pressure on medical staff at hospitals in Mumbai designated for Covid-19 cases, doctors are being called in from other places and massive temporary hospitals are under construction.
The nationwide shutdown, which was first enforced on March 24, has been extended twice, on April 14 and May 4. The third phase will end on May 17.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a televised address to the nation on Tuesday, said there will be a fourth phase of the lockdown, which will be very different from the earlier three phases with new rules.