Representative photo: PTI
NEW DELHI: Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and the National Capital Territory of Delhi announced on Friday that there would be no reimposition of the lockdown. The statements came in response to wide speculation that there would another shutdown from June 15 due to the unabating growth of Covid-19 cases.
Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray said on Friday there was no plan to reimpose a lockdown from June 15. The CMO tweeted an appeal not to believe in rumours after a spate of messages flooded social media sites speculating that a total lockdown would be enforced in Maharashtra due to the rising number of novel coronavirus cases.
In Pune, state health minister Rajesh Tope said it was time people learned to live with Covid-19 by abiding by government instructions rather than having a complete lockdown. With the state having touched 1 lakh positive cases on Thursday, the health minister told TOI there were only 47,980 active cases while an equal number of affected patients had been cured and discharged.
In Delhi, health minister Satyendar Jain officially rejected the possibility and stated in clear terms that “the lockdown in Delhi will no longer be extended”. Till June 1, Delhi had 20,834 Covid cases and 523 deaths. As of Friday, a total of 36,824 people in Delhi had been infected (including recoveries) and the number of deaths rose to 1,214. The capital had witnessed 1,877 Covid cases in one day on Thursday, leading to speculation that the government may order another lockdown.
The TN government informed the Madras high court that it had no plans for now to completely lock down Chennai or any other part of the state. Separately, chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami denied a social media post attributing an announcement of a new lockdown to him, saying, “A message circulating on social media with my photo is a false one. Criminal action will be taken against people who circulate the false message.”
Earlier in the day, additional advocate-general of Tamil Nadu S R Rajagopal told a Madras HC division bench: “Cases are increasing in Chennai. We have taken stringent steps to contain the spread. But so far, there is no proposal to implement 100% lockdown. We are containing streets where cases are high by restricting movement of people.” To this, the bench of Justice Vineet Kothari and Justice R Suresh Kumar asked whether reports of people being denied permission to move out of Chennai and about authorities denying e-passes were true. “All such reports are rumours. We are issuing e-passes. District collectors concerned are issuing such passes,” Rajagopal said.
In Delhi, the health minister said banquet halls, community halls and stadiums were being prepared to house patients for Covid treatment. “A total of 80% beds in Covid-dedicated Delhi government hospitals are oxygen beds, and we are also preparing oxygen beds in non-dedicated Covid hospitals of the Delhi government,” Jain said.
The Maharashtra CM appealed to people to maintain social distancing and refrain from crowding. “News such as these create confusion in society, forwarding and posting these kinds of false reports on social media is a crime,” Thackeray said in response to speculation about a further lockdown. Health minister Tope said that in Mumbai 500 more ICU beds would soon be added and that a help desk at every private hospital would address refusal of admission and increased charges.
The main challenge is to bring down the mortality rate. Death audit reports across almost all districts of Maharashtra clearly indicate that comorbidity is the main reason. "As of now our death rate is 3% percent,” said the minister, adding that “less than 1% of deaths were due purely to Covid-19” and that the remaining were due to comorbidity.