UPDATE: The Maharashtra Health Department has issued a clarification regarding the lockdown-like restrictions imposed in the state and rubbished the ‘5-level unlock plan’ claim made by MVA Minister Vijay Wadettiwar on Thursday.
The Health Department has clarified that step-by-step relaxation of restrictions based on criteria are under consideration and the government will implement them after full review by the concerned administrative units of the districts.
“COVID-19 is still on the rise in some places in rural areas. Considering the fact and changing form of the virus, it is important to decide whether to or not to relax the curbs. State restrictions have not been lifted.
Under the government’s ‘break the chain’ initiative, the state has started to relax some of the curbs, with the Disaster Management Department deciding on five stages, the positivity rate and the availability of oxygen beds.
Detailed guidelines for tightening or relaxing the restrictions in the State on the basis of these criteria will be notified by the Government,” the Health Department said.
Earlier in the day, Maharashtra Minister Vijay Wadettiwar gave out false information regarding the government’s ‘5-level unlock plan’ to ease the current lockdown-like restrictions in the state.
Addressing a press conference, Wadettiwar said that the state has prepared a 5-level unlock plan for the state on the basis of positivity rate and status of occupancy of oxygen beds in various districts. Places with the lowest positivity rate will have no restrictions, he said. The lockdown-like restrictions will be lifted from June 4 in 18 out of 36 Maharashtra districts, he added.
Wadettiwar has said that the Maharashtra government has decided to ease restrictions in districts with less than 5% COVID positivity rate and Oxygen bed occupancy less than 25 per cent. The government will allow restaurants, malls, shops, local trains, public places, tourist destinations, public, private offices, theatres, shootings, gatherings, social entertainment, marriages, gym, salon, beauty parlours to operate in 43 corporations and districts.
These include Thane, Aurangabad, Gondia, Jalgaon, Bhandara, Buldhana, Chandrapur, Dhule, Jalna, Nagpur, Wardha, Latur, Nanded, Nashik, Parbhani, Washim and Yavatmal. Marriage functions and social entertainment would be allowed in particular areas.
Districts/Cities in the Level 2 category would be allowed to reopen gyms, salons, beauty parlours with 50 per cent capacity. The number of people allowed in marriages in gatherings will also be restricted. Mumbai, Amaravati, Ahmednagar, and Hingoli have been categorised under this category. The lockdown-like restrictions would be relaxed partially in Mumbai, but the general public won’t be allowed to travel in local trains till further orders, said Wadettiwar.
Kolhapur, Usmanabad, Akola, Sindhudurg, Sangli, Beed, Satara and Ratnagiri districts fall under the Level 3 category.
Pune and Raigad districts have been listed in the Level 4 category.
In Level 5 unlock process, an E-pass will be applicable for intrastate travel, however, RTPCR is not mandatory for the same. A separate plan for interstate travel will be declared shortly. Wadettiwar said 18 of 36 districts will be unlocked first, depending on the positivity rate.
Maharashtra on June 2 recorded 15,169 new coronavirus cases, taking the tally to 57,76,184 and 285 fresh deaths also added 268 previously unreported fatalities, the state health department said. The statewide toll rose to 96,751, it said. The new cases were higher than 14,123 infections registered on Tuesday. Recoveries far exceeded new infections.