Days after a number of urban centres in the state began to reimpose restrictions on people's movement, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope today said the emerging Covid-19 situation was indeed alarming. He has warned that strict action may have to be taken once he talks to the Chief Minister, District Collectors, and Police Commissioners today. He went to the extent of using the word "lockdown" with reference to some districts, even though he qualified it with "if required".
"The situation is alarming. We have to take strict measures...lockdowns can be imposed if required for some districts. We have empowered the districts (administrations) to decide on lockdowns," Mr Tope told NDTV. "People need to adhere to rules. We can increase the penalty for non-adherence."
Maharashtra is among the many states that have seen a revival of the infection in the past few weeks preceded by a consistent decline in its spread. The state, however, remains the most infected among all as it has been through most of the pandemic period.
Today alone, it saw an increase of 11,141 new cases with 38 deaths. Overall, nearly 22.2 lakh people in the state have been infected by coronavirus since its outbreak in India in January 2020.
Besides holding people responsible for the worsening situation, Mr Tope admitted complacency on the government's part.
"People are taking it for granted. There is no gravity in people's minds. There was a bit of complacency in the government machinery, too, in adhering to rules," Mr Tope said.
A number of districts across the states have in recent weeks imposed night curfew and shut down schools and colleges in the wake of this revival in the disease.
For instance, eastern Maharashtra's Hingoli district was on March 1 placed under a strict curfew, a day after it registered 51 new cases of Covid-19. The curbs will remain till March 17, authorities have informed. Similar restrictions placed earlier on Pune, have been extended till March 14.