New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Maharashtra government earlier last week had extended the COVID-19-induced lockdown-like curfew in the state till June 1 even as the state is witnessing a significant improvement in the grim COVID-19 situation. This was the fourth extension to the lockdown-like curfew in Maharashtra, which was first imposed on April 5, to stem the growth of the coronavirus cases there.

Now, as the situation started improving in the state, the Maharashtra government is reportedly mulling to start lifting the lockdown curbs in a phased-manner. However, the MVA government is currently discussing two propositions. First, whether to lift the lockdown from June 1 or to extend it till June 7 and start the unlocking process after June 7.

This comes as Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Saturday hinted at the easing of COVID curbs in the state in a phased manner if the positivity rate comes down below 10 per cent and said that the final decision on the date of ending the lockdown will be taken on Wednesday during the cabinet meeting.

“The government will assess the situation in the last week of May. If the positivity rate falls below 10% and the number of active cases comes down, the state may consider easing some restrictions,” Tope had said as quoted by The Times of India.

Maharashtra Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Vijay Wadettiwar also said that the government was contemplating easing COVID-19-induced lockdown-like curbs in districts outside the "red zone" after June 1. He said 15 districts (out of a total of 36) are in the "red zone" (high caseload) and the curbs there could be made stricter.

"Buldhana, Kolhapur, Ratnagiri, Sangli, Yavatmal, Amravati, Sindhdurg, Solapur, Akola, Satara, Washim, Beed, Gadchiroli, Ahmednagar and Osmanabad are the districts where coronavirus cases are still on the rise, the minister said as quoted by news agency PTI.

"There is a demand for easing restrictions where COVID-19 cases have reduced. The government may ease restrictions in districts where cases are coming down. It will take a decision after observing the situation for four to five more days " he added.

Meanwhile, a report by News18 stated that the upliftment of the lockdown in Maharashtra will take place in four phases. The first phase will witness the opening up of shops selling non-essential items in a staggered manner. The report further stated that the local trains in Maharashtra will start plying from the last phase of unlocking. However, schools, colleges and educational institutions will remain shut.

Maharashtra has been reporting the highest positivity rate along with other states for weeks and now the state has finally managed to get its positivity rate below 10 per cent. Maharashtra recorded 22,122 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, taking the state's infection tally beyond the 56-lakh mark to 56,02,019, while 361 more deaths pushed the toll to 89,212.

Recoveries outnumbered the fresh cases as 42,320 patients were discharged from hospitals during the day, taking the count of recoveries to 51,82,592. The state's COVID-19 recovery rate is 92.51 per cent, while the case fatality rate is 1.59 per cent. With this, Maharashtra is now left with 3,27,580 active cases, it said.

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan