Maharashtra considers total lockdown as virus cases surge

 



India’s richest state, Maharashtra, is considering imposing a strict lockdown this week after recording the highest one-day jump in coronavirus infections of any Indian state since last March, officials said on Sunday.



Maharashtra tightened travel restrictions and imposed night curfews as it reported 40,414 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, almost two-thirds of the national total, many of them in the densely-populated financial capital Mumbai.


“In (Sunday’s) meeting of the (COVID-19) task force, it was suggested that very strict restrictions like lockdown should be imposed immediately,” the office of Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said in a statement.


A senior official in the state government said the lockdown could take effect “in the coming days” as officials had been asked to prepare to implement it in a phased manner.


India recorded 62,714 new cases in the space of 24 hours on Sunday, the Health Ministry said - the biggest jump since October - as well as 312 deaths.


“We are seeing a higher COVID positive rate in high-rise residential buildings than in slums ... to stop the spread, only essential services will be allowed (at night),” said Mumbai Mayor Kishor Pednekar. Hotels, pubs and shopping malls must observe the curfew.


Residential areas in Mumbai with five or more reported COVID-19 cases have been ordered to be sealed off.

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