New Delhi: Telangana joined Maharashtra and West Bengal on Saturday to became the latest states to extend the ongoing lockdown till April 30, after witnessing a continuous spike in COVID-19 cases.
Odisha, Punjab and Rajasthan earlier had extended the lockdown until the end of the month. The nationwide death toll due to the coronavirus rose to 242 on Saturday, with more than 7,500 cases having been reported so far.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said the lockdown can be relaxed in certain areas while in others it will become stricter. He also said that the decision on lifting the curbs completely after April 30 will be taken depending upon the prevailing situation.
Thackeray said he had conveyed this decision to Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the meeting of all the chief ministers.
Meanwhile, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao after a cabinet meeting said, “The state cabinet decided to continue the lockdown in the state till April 30. It will be implemented in a tough manner.”
Rao was also among the chief ministers who favoured extending the lockdown in the country beyond April 30, saying this step is the only weapon to effectively check the spread of COVID-19.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said she agreed with Modi on extending the lockdown till April 30 as he spoke about how the next two-three weeks are “crucial and critical” to fighting the pandemic.
“The PM may have said this with some genuine reasons. I know people are suffering due to the lockdown. I would like to request all to bear with us,” she said.
Maharashtra cases on the rise
Thackeray said the decision regarding pending examinations, restarting of industrial units and migrant workers stranded in the state will be announced before April 14. He said the complete lifting of the lockdown will depend upon how soon the chain of the coronavirus transmission is broken in the most-affected state.
Maharashtra’s tally of COVID-19 cases shot up to 1666 earlier in the day with 92 fresh cases being reported, according to the state Health Department. The state has so far reported 110 deaths due to the infection while as many as 188 patients have been discharged from hospitals after recovery, officials have said.
“Maharashtra has always shownthe path to the country. In the present crisis too, the state will lead in defeating the coronavirus, which has attacked all and not spared even the PM of the UK,” he said, asking people not to panic and calling for a “continuous the determined” fight against the virus.
Thackeray said the state had so far tested more than 33,000 samples, out of which nearly 19,000 were from Mumbai, which he said is the “Gateway to India”.
Talking about the cases in Mumbai, which has been hit the hardest by the outbreak, Thackeray said, “60% to 70% of the nearly 1,000 coronavirus positive persons in Mumbai have displayed mild or very mild symptoms. Those who had unfortunately died had other ailments as well, and most of them had come to hospitals during the last stage (of their illness).”
According to the Mumbai civic body, the tally of COVID-19 cases in the country’s financial capital mounted to 993 with 64 deaths, as on Friday.
Appealing to people to work from home wherever possible, Thackeray acknowledged there is uncertainty and anxiety all around due to the lockdown.
“The number of coronavirus positive patients is increasing…everyone is at home and we don’t know what to do,” he said.
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