With COVID-19 cases on the rise, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has said all political, religious and social gatherings will be prohibited in Maharashtra from Monday.
The decision comes at a time when Maharashtra is once again witnessing a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases. Six districts — Ratnagiri, Beed, Sindhudurg, Raigad, Satara and Amravati — have witnessed a noticeable rise in average daily deaths.
For the past week, more than 200 COVID-19 cases are being reported daily in the state.
In a televised address, Thackeray said that political agitations will not be allowed for the next few days as they attract crowds. “The pandemic is raising its head in the state, but whether it is another wave will be known in eight to 15 days,” he said.
“Lockdown may not be the solution to COVID-19, but it is the only option to break the cycle of the virus,” he added.
The chief minister said that COVID-appropriate behaviour is a must and those violating the rules will be punished. According to him, a face mask is the only “shield” in the war against coronavirus. “Wear mask, maintain discipline and observe social distancing to avoid a lockdown,” Thackeray said.
Due to the spike in the number of cases, Amravati district in Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region will be placed under a week-long lockdown from 8 pm on February 22, minister Yashomati Thakur said on Sunday. The lockdown will be in force till 8 am on March 1, Thakur added.
Apart from the week-long lockdown in Amravati, certain restrictions will be in place in four other districts of Amravati division — Akola, Washim, Buldhana and Yavatmal — with a view to curb the spread of the virus, an official said.
Health experts and government officials are putting the onus for the surge on people not wearing face masks and violating social distancing norms.
In Pune, the district administration has decided to enforce certain curbs, including restriction on movement of people from 11 pm to 6 am for non-essential activities. Schools and colleges have been closed till February 28, while hotels and restaurants will have to shut their establishments by 11 pm every day.
[With inputs from PTI]