Maharashtra- the worst coronavirus-hit state- might ease restrictions in high-risk zones in a staggered manner from May 31, when lockdown4 ends, state minister Aaditya Thackeray said on Sunday, warning against what he called "knee-jerk opening".
"We slowly went into the lockdown in Maharashtra. When we talk about opening up, a knee-jerk opening is not the best thing to do. We have to create a medical buffer for asymptomatic cases because coronavirus is not going away soon," he told NDTV.
On a day when Maharashtra crossed the 50,000-mark with its highest 24-hour spike in cases, Mr Thackeray said the state cannot afford to be scared of figures amid the fight against coronavirus.
"Maharashtra is not hiding figures, it is not afraid of figures. I have asked officers to chase cases - be in chawls or high-rise buildings. We cannot deny and be scared of the numbers. We can only protect citizens if we identify those infected," Mr Thackeray said.
Mr Thackeray, the Shiv Sena MLA from Mumbai's Worli, said the authorities have managed to impede the spread in his constituency.
"We have put a speed breaker. With time, the line of treatment has evolved. To be honest, the curve would flatten when we identify each and every case. My constituency was the worst-affected area in Mumbai. We said let's not be scared and let's go and identify cases. Now the doubling rate in my ward is 21 days. So, we have to chase every case," he said.
Maharashtra, which had been unwilling to reopen its airports for passenger flights, made a U-turn on Sunday, and decided to allow 25 flights to and from Mumbai tomorrow.
Mr Thackeray explained the state government's reservations in allowing domestic flights.
"Trains are carrying lesser number. Airport was told to prepare for 20,000 fliers each day. But on trains there are 1,200. We will eventually want them to return. But that needs more planning. With public transport off, we can't have 20,000 people on the road. We want local trains to start so that buses can be at the airport," he said.