Mumbai, on February 18, recorded 736 fresh Covid-19 cases, taking the total for this week to 5,000 new cases that is the highest in the past 75 days. While Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray had warned people of a possible lockdown in case the norms are not followed. Restrictions have been placed in two districts — Amravati and Yavatmal with weekend lockdowns instituted, and next on the list are Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur according to Mayor Kishori Pednekar, who warned of a possible lockdown in the city as it continues recording a high number of cases.
Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal on Thursday announced that orders have already been issued to raid marriage halls, restaurants, clubs and more such places where people gather in huge numbers. Mayor Kishori Pednekar asserted that "It's a matter of concern. Most people travelling in trains don't wear masks. People must take precautions or we will head towards another lockdown." To curb the spread, the civic body said that 300 marshals will be deployed to take action against those travelling in local trains without masks. The municipality is set to fine around 25,000 violators in a day.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has also batted for mandatory 'institutional quarantine' for Brazil returnees. The Brazil variant — B.18.104.22.168 or P.1 is said to be highly infectious and India recorded the first Covid positive case with this strain recently. While referring to another Covid-19 strain — South African variant — ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava while speaking to ANI earlier this week explained that 'ICMR-NIV is attempting to isolate and culture the South African variant of SARS-CoV-2, while the Brazil variant of SAS-CoV-2 has been isolated and cultured at ICMR-NIV-Pune.'
The Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government has announced weekend lockdowns in Amravati after it recorded 430 new cases till Sunday. The lockdown will start from 8 pm on February 20 and will be in place till 7 am on February 22. According to the doctors, the two mutations — E484K mutation in one sample in Amravati and N440K mutation in another sample in Yavatmal, are likely to be the reason for the drastic rise in Covid positive cases in the two cities.
Yavatmal in eastern Maharashtra has also recorded a record number of cases surpassing 600 until Wednesday. The district administration has now declared a 10-day lockdown in Yavatmal that started on Thursday night. Yavatmal collector M D Singh speaking to news agency PTI informed, 'We have decided to conduct around 500 tests per day in Yavatmal, Pandharkawda and Pusad municipal corporations. Today we are ordering lockdown in Yavatmal district till February 28.'
Schools, colleges and coaching centres will remain shut during the lockdown, while no religious gatherings are allowed. However, 50 persons are allowed to gather for a wedding, in case necessary.