The Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Goa governments on Sunday extended the lockdown in their respective states until May 31.
While Maharashtra stated that phase-wise relaxations will be notified in due course, Tamil Nadu announced relaxations for 25 districts where COVID-19 cases are zero or considerably contained. Goa made testing compulsory and paid for all those who enter the state.
Maharashtra announced its decision before the Centre issued its guidelines for lockdown 4.0. Chief Secretary Ajoy Mehta’s order stated that “the calibrated phase wise relaxation / lifting of lockdown orders will be notified in the due course”.
Sources said the state government is considering a “staggered approach” for lifting the lockdown and has asked district collectors and municipal commissioners to send plans for their districts. “The options include allowing category-wise shops to open daily for a few hours or on alternate days. It is to ensure less crowding on streets,” said an official.
It may take two days to issue guidelines on relaxations, the official added. With 2,347 new cases on Sunday, Maharashtra has a total of 33,053 COVID-19 cases. Of these, 20,150 cases are from Mumbai and 3,622 cases from Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad area.
Announcing the lockdown extension in Tamil Nadu, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami made it clear that restrictions in containment zones would continue. However, the outbreak in the state is now limited to a few districts, thus 25 of 37 districts will see significant relaxations, mainly for commercial and industrial activities.
E-passes will not be required to travel in 25 districts including Coimbatore, Salem, Tirupur, Tirunelveli, Madurai, Trichy and Nilgiris even as the government requested the public to use transport only for permitted activities and essential work. Work strength for MGNREGA will be increased from 50% to 100% and industries with less than 100 workers can function in full strength.
The state reported 639 cases on Sunday. Of the total 11,224 cases, 6,750 were reported from Chennai city alone.
For Goa, new guidelines will be shared on Monday, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said. “Our state has a different strategy as we have no community transmission. The cases that are turning positive are all from outsiders. We are keeping tests compulsory at all check points and railway stations for anyone who enters the state. They are quarantined or sent to COVID hospital based on tests results. I urge everyone not to be relaxed. The same rules are going to extend in lockdown 4.0,” he told the media.
Meanwhile, the Karnataka government extended lockdown measures by two days or until further orders. According to sources, the short extension is because the state government is waiting for lockdown 4.0 guidelines from the Centre.
The West Bengal government has decided to continue the lockdown on Monday. The Home Department tweeted, “No advisory yet received from GOI till today evening on lockdown update. Status quo with same arrangements to continue in WB until further notification. We will notify our comprehensive plan tomorrow afternoon.”
The Gujarat government, too, will wait a day before issuing SOPs for the next phase of lockdown. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said, “We will start implementing the (Union government’s) notification from day after tomorrow (Tuesday). Tomorrow, the rules and SOP for the same will be framed and its implementation will begin from Tuesday.”
With inputs from ENS Kolkata and Gandhinagar, and PTI Bengaluru
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