India: Maharashtra to tighten Covid-19 restrictions from Monday
The state heightened its precautions amid fears of a third wave caused by the new Delta Plus variant.
Amid fears of a third wave of coronavirus and cases of its highly infectious ‘Delta Plus’ variant emerging in Maharashtra, the state tightened restrictions with effect from Monday, with essential shops allowed to remain open only till 4 pm on all days. Non-essential shops and establishments can remain open till 4 pm only on weekdays, as per a Maharashtra government notification issued last week which said the entire state will have ‘level 3’ restrictions.
Restaurants are allowed to operate dine-in facility with 50 per cent capacity till 4 pm on weekdays and takeaways and home deliveries after that, according to the order.
The suburban trains will operate only for medical staff and personnel engaged in essential services, while gyms and salons are allowed to remain open till 4 pm at 50 per cent capacity.
The new order will impact cities like Nagpur, Thane and Pune as they had seen more relaxations than Mumbai, which continued to be under ‘level 3’ restrictions, despite qualifying for ‘level 1’ where all curbs are allowed to be lifted.
The state government on Friday announced a ‘state-level trigger’ for imposing restrictions in administrative units irrespective of the weekly positivity rate and oxygen bed occupancy percentage.
The weekly positivity rate regarding levels of restrictions will be determined on the basis of RT-PCR tests, and not rapid antigen or other tests, the state government had said while describing the ‘Delta Plus’ as a variant of concern.
Restrictions in administrative units will remain at a level not below 3, the government had said, and also called for pushing for 70 per cent vaccination of eligible population in the state.
Earlier this month, the state government had introduced a graded system of easing the lockdown-like curbs in each district, considering the Covid-19 weekly positivity rate and occupancy of oxygen beds.
Districts and municipal corporations were then classified under levels 1 to 5.
Accordingly, some cities and districts in the Marathwada and Vidarbha regions had lifted restrictions and some were in ‘level 2’.
However, last week, the Maharashtra government modified the graded system and said the entire state will have ‘level 3’ restrictions.
District administrations have been asked to take various steps, including testing, vaccination and enforcement of Covid-19 appropriate behaviour and penalty for violators.
If there is an upward trend in number of coronavirus positive cases, the district disaster management authority will impose higher-level of restrictions, the order said.
Attempts must be made to achieve 70 per cent vaccination of eligible population and focus should on test, track and treat methodology to contain the spread of Covid-19, it had said.
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