Mumbai: In a move to curtail the further spread of COVID-19 in the state, the Maharashtra government on May 12 declared extension of the ongoing lockdown style restrictions till June 1.
The announcement came on Thursday, a day after a meeting of state's cabinet ministers. Earlier the lockdown was imposed until May 15. As per the guidelines, private offices, non-essential shops and establishments will continue to remain closed.
Amid the spike in new cases, Maharashtra also enforced strict restrictions on Thursday as it made carrying a negative RT-PCR report to enter the state through any mode of transport compulsory. This rule was earlier applicable only to the travellers coming in from the states considered as 'sensitive origin', now the rule has been extended for those coming into the state from any part of the nation.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra reported 46,781 fresh COVID-19 cases and 816 fatalities in the last 24 hours, said the state health department on Wednesday. The new cases further pushed the case tally in the state to 52,26,710. As many as 58,805 patients have recovered from the infection in the last 24 hours, taking the total recoveries to 46,00,196. Meanwhile, the active number of COVID cases in Maharashtra stands at 5,46,129. With the new fatalities, the COVID death total in Maharashtra has gone up to 78,007.
VACCINATION SUSPENDED IN STATE
Due to acute shortage of vaccines, the Maharashtra government decided to temporarily suspend the vaccination drive for the 18-44 age groups, Health Minister Rajesh Tope informed in Mumbai on Wednesday.
The stocks would be diverted to carry out a smooth and hassle-free vaccination for the 45-plus age group till adequate doses of the vaccines are available. The decision came after a cabinet meeting held by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. "The vaccination for the 18-44 age group started on May 1. Till date, we have vaccinated 5-6 lakh people in that category, however, there is a shortage of vaccines," Tope informed media persons.
He said that there is a scarcity of both brands of the vaccines - Covishield as well as Covaxin, produced. The top priority is to deliver the second dose to the 45-plus age groups who have already got one shot which should not go waste owing to delays due to shortages, he clarified.
1.5 CRORE DOSES OF COVISHIELD TO MAHARASHTRA
Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Tuesday while interacting with media persons said that Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla has to deliver 1.5 crore doses of Covishield to Maharashtra after May 20.
The Maharashtra state cabinet conducted a meeting on Wednesday to discuss the COVID management. Interacting with media persons on Tuesday, Tope said, "Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla has promised the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to deliver 1.5 crore doses of Covishield to the state after May 20. We will begin the vaccination for the 18-44 years age group after we receive the vaccine."
Maharashtra is in serious crisis in the current wave of COVID-19 infections with daily cases hovering around 50,000 mark. Hospitals and morgues are overflowing, along with shortage of vaccine and medical oxygen and drugs are running short.