Section 144 across Maharashtra for 15 days from Wednesday; only essential services allowed

Section 144 across Maharashtra for 15 days from Wednesday; only essential services allowed

The state's case recovery rate is 81.94 per cent and the fatality rate is 1.68 per cent.

Even as Maharashtra continues to register a record number of COVID-19 cases, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday ruled out total lockdown and said Section 144 will be imposed in the state from Wednesday. Only essential services will be allowed in the state under what the CM called the "Janta curfew".

Dubbing the current situation in the state "scary", he said the healthcare infrastructure in the state is overburdened. "We are going through a tough time," the CM said.

He said testing has been increased, but the process of testing and getting results are taking longer as testing centres are overburdened.

The chief minister credited the people and doctors for bringing down the number of cases in December. The battel has began again he said, as the number of cases have gone up.

He said the state is facing a shortage of oxygen supply and made an appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure supply of oxygen. He also sought relaxation in GST and urged the Centre to consider small businesses.

Section 144 across Maharashtra for 15 days from Wednesday; only essential services allowed
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As many as 60,212 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Tuesday, a day after the state witnessed a dip in cases. On Monday, a day after registering the highest 63,294 infections, the state had reported 51,751 fresh cases. The state's case recovery rate is 81.94 per cent and the fatality rate is 1.68 per cent.

On Sunday, the CM had held a meeting with members of the state COVID-19 task force and said a standard operating procedure (SoP) would be prepared after holding consultations. He had also held an all-party meeting virtually on Saturday to discuss the COVID-19 situation in the state.

State minister Aslam Shaikh, who had earlier on Tuesday suggested that the government would come up with fresh restrictions to curb the coronavirus spread, had attributed the rise in the number of cases to increased testing. "We are testing more people and reporting the figures. Other states have not even reported those cases and have ignored the COVID-19 guidelines. Their situation will worsen once the elections are over," the minister had said.

Shaikh had, however, said the pandemic situation is still under control in the state.

Section 144 across Maharashtra for 15 days from Wednesday; only essential services allowed
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Panic buying

Ahead of the address of the chief minister, panic buying was reported in many parts of Mumbai, as people feared another lockdown like last year. Vegetable vendors and general stores selling fast-moving consumer goods saw higher buying from around 5.30pm. A shopkeeper, however, said that the panic buying is not as high as the one seen in March last year after Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave a four-hour window for a nationwide lockdown. There was increased vehicular movement as the people got out of their homes for shopping. There was an increased police presence as well on the roads.

Exams postponed

Meanwhile, the state government had, on Monday, postponed the state board exams of Classes X and XII, which were scheduled to be held later this month, in view of a steep rise in COVID-19 cases in the state. The board exams of Class XII were to begin from April 23 and of Class X from April 30. The decision to postpone the exams was the outcome of consultations with various stakeholders, like students, teachers, parents, elected representatives from across parties, academicians and tech giants, School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad had said.

The state government had already announced a slew of restrictions, including a weekend lockdown, night curfew and prohibitory orders for the day time. These restrictions would continue till April 30.

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