The lockdown-like-restrictions in Maharashtra on account of the coronavirus pandemic have been extended by 15 days but a fresh set of guidelines will be issued on June 1, health minister Rajesh Tope said on Friday.
The state cabinet had taken the decision to extend the curbs on people's movement and businesses — in force since mid-April — in a meeting on Thursday.
"As far as lockdown is concerned, 15 days' extension has been given, but the guidelines related to it will be issued on June 1," Tope told reporters here.
No relaxation will be given in the areas where the number of patients and positivity rate are still high and hospital bed availability is an issue, he said.
"But in the areas where the situation has improved, certain guidelines (easing the curbs) can be issued," he added.
Asked if shops selling non-essential commodities will be allowed to open, he said all such decisions will be taken on June 1.
On Thursday, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had said the restrictions will continue after June 1, and will be relaxed later in a phased manner.
"In 10 to 15 districts, the positivity rate is still very high. Besides, there is threat of the black fungus infection (found in recovering/recovered coronavirus patients)," the chief minister had noted.
The process of lifting the lockdown gradually in the capital will begin from Monday, starting with resumption of construction activities and reopening of factories for a week, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced on Friday.
The phase-wise unlocking process in Delhi will begin after over six weeks of lockdown enforced in view of the second wave of COVID-19.
Noting that Delhi somehow gained control over the second wave of COVID-19 with the positivity rate coming down to 1.5 per cent, the chief minister said the fight against the deadly disease has not ended yet.
Kejriwal also stressed that if cases start rising again, the unlock process will have to be stopped.
The chief minister said it is time to start the unlock process. However, he cautioned that it should not be the case that people escape coronavirus but die of hunger.
"We have to maintain a balance between controlling the spread of COVID-19 and allowing economic activities," Kejriwal said during an online press briefing.
"At a meeting of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on Friday, it was decided that the lockdown be lifted gradually. In this process, we have to take care of the lowest strata first … daily wagers, labourers, migrant workers who come to Delhi from far off areas in search of livelihood.
"Keeping this in mind, it has been decided to open factories and allow construction activities for one week from Monday," he said, adding that the government will continue the unlock process every week based on the opinion of experts and the public.
However, if the cases start rising again, we will have to stop the unlock exercise, he added, and appealed to the people to not step out unless it is absolutely necessary.
In the last 24 hours, Delhi reported a positivity rate of around 1.5 per cent and around 11,00 new cases, the chief minister said.