Maharashtra is likely to extend existing Covid-related restrictions for 15 days, state Health Minister Rajesh Tope was quoted by news agency PTI on Wednesday. The proposal was made at a cabinet meeting earlier today, but the final decision will be made by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
Last week the state – the worst hit by the pandemic – announced a series of measures to combat the deadly spike in cases. These measures, which included limiting attendance at non-essential private and government offices, and use of public transport – were to stay till 7 am on May 1.
Restrictions were also imposed on weddings and social events, and shops selling groceries, dairy products and vegetables were allowed to open for only four hours – 7 am to 11 am per day.
Maharashtra has over 6.7 lakh active coronavirus cases – more than Uttar Pradesh (3.06 lakh) and Karnataka (3.01 lakh) combined – and over 66,000 deaths have been recorded so far.
On Tuesday the state reported 66,358 new cases in 24 hours – a 36.6 per cent increase from Sunday, when there were only 48,700 new cases.
Also on Tuesday, state capital Mumbai reported over 4,000 cases.
Earlier today the state government said it would provide free COVID-19 vaccination to all citizens aged between 18-44 years to combat the pandemic.
“Today, the Cabinet under the leadership of Chief Minister Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray has decided to provide free COVID-19 vaccination to all the citizens of Maharashtra aged between 18-44years. #BreakTheChain,” a tweet from the Chief Minister’s Office said.
The decision to provide free COVID vaccine to all the people in the age group of 18 to 44 in the state was taken in the state cabinet meeting held today.
After the meeting, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray clarified that the health department is planning for the vaccination program and the citizens will be informed about it in advance.
“We have been fighting the battle of COVID for the last one and a half years. Vaccination has been started in the state since January in collaboration with the Center. To date, more than 1.5 crore people under the age of 45 have been vaccinated. This is a record in the country,” he said.
With input from PTI