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Maharashtra Cabinet Bats for Lockdown Till May 31; Vaccination for 18-44 Age Group Halted





The Maharashtra cabinet on Wednesday recommended to extend the lockdown to control the spread of coronavirus till May 31. On Wednesday, Maharashtra reported 46,781 fresh covid-19 cases and 816 deaths, pushing the state tally to 52,26,710 and toll to 78,007.

According to the measures announced previously, only those in essential services will be allowed to travel in the public transport. It has further ordered all government offices to work at 15% capacity and limited the attendance in marriages to 25 persons. Travelling will be allowed with 50 per cent capacity of the vehicle.

Plateauing in 12 Districts

Several districts in Maharashtra have witnessed a decline in fresh cases. In fact, state government officials reported that daily cases have plateaued, but are yet to show a substantial decrease in most districts.

“Nearly 12 districts are showing a decline in cases, but that is just one-third of the state; the remaining two-thirds is either stable or is reporting an increase. Opening up would lead to a surge again,” said the minister, who to Times of India spoke on condition of anonymity.

According to earlier data, twelve states accounted for 80.68 per cent of India’s over 37.23 lakh active coronavirus cases, with Maharashtra taking the lead. Maharashtra has the maximum number of active cases at 6.57 lakh, followed by Karnataka 5,36,661, Kerala 4,02,997, Uttar Pradesh 2,54,118, and Rajasthan 1,99,147 cases. The state also saw a record high of 54,022 daily cases and 898 fatalities.

Lockdown Success?

Over three weeks have passed since the Maharashtra government imposed strict restrictions to check the spread of coronavirus but the daily average of cases is still over 50,000 which is a matter of concern, he said, in an earlier statement on Saturday. Citing the Union government, Tope said COVID-19 cases have dipped in 12 out of the total 36 districts in Maharashtra, but in some other districts, the cases are on a higher side.

Vaccination Halted for 18-44 Age Group

Meanwhile, vaccination for 18-44 age group in Maharashtra has been suspended for the time being due to shortage of vaccines, health minister Rajesh Tope said on Wednesday after the cabinet meeting. All the doses purchased by the state government for the age group will now be diverted for the 45+ category, he said.

The minister also revealed that the Serum Institute of India (SII) has informed the Maharashtra government that it would be able to provide 1.5 crore Covishield vaccines to the state only May 20 onwards. “There is no sufficient supply of vaccine vials by the Centre for inoculation of above-45 age group people. Hence, the state cabinet decided to divert the stock, purchased for the 18-44 age group, for the above-45 age group. Therefore, we are suspending the inoculation of 18-44age group for some period,” Tope said.

While Covishield vaccine is manufactured by Pune-based SII, Covaxin is produced by Bharat Biotech. “Adar Poonawalla of SII has informed Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray of his ability to supply around 1.5 crore vials of Covishield from May 20 onwards. Once we receive the supply, we will resume the vaccination of 18-44 age group,” the minister said.

On Tuesday, Tope had alleged that the Union government was not fulfilling its responsibility to provide adequate number of vaccine doses to states.

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