Maharashtra, the state hit worst by Covid, has decided on a 5-level unlock strategy as the Covid numbers in the state slowly recede. The levels have been decided on basis of positivity rate and total oxygen beds occupancy -- and will range from areas from where lockdown has completely been lifted and those that will face the strictest of restrictions.
Most Covid-hit states, including Delhi, have taken a cautious approach after the second wave of the disease ripped through the country, leading to the collapse of the healthcare system and leaving thousands dead. In view of the current vaccine shortage, most states have been extending restrictions to completely break the chain of transmission.
Lockdown can be lifted completely in districts categorised as Level 1, Maharashtra Relief and Rehabilitation minister Vijay Waddettiwar tol reporters this afternoon. There are 18 districts in the first level including Thane. Level 5 has been dubbed the Red Zone, which will be under complete lockdown.
India's financial capital Mumbai -- which got the situation fast under control during the second wave of the virus -- is on Level 2. The local train service, lifeline of the city, will remain shut for now.
While announcing that restrictions to stop the chain of transmission of Covid will remain in place till June 15, the government eased some of the conditions on Sunday, allowing shops of essential items to remain open till 2 pm instead of 11 am.
This, however, is applicable only to districts which had less than 10 per cent Covid positivity rate and where occupancy of oxygen beds was less than 40 per cent, the government said.
The state also allowed the delivery of non-essential items through e-commerce, which was on freeze.
Without going for a full-scale lockdown like last year, Maharashtra announced rigorous restrictions on April 5, which included limiting attendance at non-essential private and government offices and use of public transport, curtailing attendance at weddings and social events and limiting time for shops selling essential items.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had earlier announced a night curfew and weekend lockdown, but decided to impose stricter measures as Covid figures started climbing across the country.