In what can be indicative of the state government’s line of thinking with regard to the gradual lifting of the lockdown, Minister for Medical Education and Culture Amit Deshmukh said he was in favour of lifting the lockdown in non-hotspot areas in the urban belt. Deshmukh, who was addressing the media on Monday via a webinar, also said the state had enough testing kits and personal protection equipment (PPE).
“If urban areas have, say more than 50 per cent of hotspot areas where coronavirus cases are reported every day, then it makes sense to keep the city under lockdown. However, if there are areas in the city where no cases have been reported in a long time, I see no reason why such areas should not be allowed to function,” he said.
Deshmukh’s comment assumes significance as the country reaches the last week of the lockdown. Maharashtra, which has been reporting a steady increase in cases, has recorded a majority of positive cases from the urban regions of Mumbai, Thane, Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad. Civic authorities have already identified numerous hotspots in these areas, where number of positive cases have increased in last few days.
Asked about the availability of PPE kits, N95 masks and testing kits, Deshmukh said the state had enough. At present, Maharashtra has recorded the largest number of tests being conducted in the country with the minister saying they needed to wait for the central government’s directions for increasing the number of tests.
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