Updated: March 23, 2021 11:03:42 am
Nanded, the second largest district in Marathwada region, will be going into lockdown for 10 days starting on March 24. District Collector Dr Vipin Itankar, while speaking to The Indian Express, said this was necessary to break the chain of the Covid-19 infection spread. “Large-scale movement resulted in the spread of the virus… while a vast majority of cases are mild or asymptomatic, the lockdown will stop the infection from spreading further,” he said.
Nanded would be the second district in Maharashtra to go into complete lockdown after Nagpur, which had similar movement restrictions earlier this month.
Itankar’s decision comes even as epidemiologists have spoken out against lockdown. Dr Pradeep Awate, the state’s surveillance officer, during the Idea Exchange conducted by The Indian Express, had said the economic cost of lockdown is much more than the benefits.
Itankar said his order excluded industries, and that they would be able to function without any hurdle. “Ceaseless loitering by people should stop; that is the aim of lockdown,” he said.
Nanded has reported more than 70,000 cases and, since the second wave, has seen an alarming rise in the number of cases.
Itankar said most cases were either asymptomatic or mild. “People are getting better after two to three days of hospitalisation. The district authorities are making an effort to increase beds… some hospitals were closed down in want of patients, but now we are gearing up,” he said. During the recently held examination for the state civil services, out of 1,000 invigilators, around 60 tested positive but all were asymptomatic.
Itankar stated that while cases were increasing, case fatality ratio is really low and thus, as of now, there was no cause of concern.
Lockdown comes at a time when rabi harvest is either in its final stage or farmers are busy offloading their produce. During the last lockdown, farmers faced problems of market access that led to economic losses. Itankar said the lockdown has spared the functioning of the wholesale agricultural markets. “There would be no problem in that,” he said.
Another major event, which is during the lockdown period, is the election to Nanded District Central Cooperative Bank. Itankar said the elections would continue as per schedule with district authorities working out necessary modalities.
In the ongoing phase of vaccination, Nanded got a target of 4.5 lakh people, but, to date, around 80,000 have successfully got their doses. Delay in supplies led to this slow rate of vaccination, with Itankar stating that it would be possible for them to reach their target by March 31. “We have increased the centres for vaccination and it will speed up now,” he added.
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