Lockdown in urban areas of Maha may be extended

Coronavirus: Lockdown may be extended in COVID-19-hit urban areas of Maharashtra

Firefighters sanitise a containment zone, during the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus, in Mumbai. (PTI Photo)

The Maharashtra government may extend the lockdown in the coronavirus-hit urban areas of the state after May 3, an official said on Sunday.

The state government is closely monitoring the situation in areas outside the cities of Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Nagpur, Aurangabad and Amravati, a senior state official said.

"It is the cities where most of the COVID-19 cases are concentrated. If the state has to relax its current stringent lockdown measures, it would be in rural and least affected areas of the state. However, we are looking at the scenario as rural and urban areas are connected," he said.

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Despite minimum COVID-19 cases in rural areas of Pune district, the industries there have not resumed because most of their workforce live in cities, he said.

We need to work out some plans for every city or district-wise to get things moving. The administration needs more time to come up with solutions, hence it is highly unlikely to lift the lockdown restrictions May 3 onwards in all parts of the state, the official said.

State Health Minister Rajesh Tope had on Saturday said the number of COVID-19 cases in the state is not coming down.

"The state is yet to reach a stage where the number of coronavirus cases would stabilise. Till then, we cannot take the risk of allowing people to gather at public places in large numbers, Tope said.

The minister, however, said the state government would take a collective decision on what to do once the nationwide lockdown ends on May 3.

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