Local administrations in many cities in the state have opted for tough lockdown rules to curb the growing number of Covid-19 cases. Thane and Pune rank among the worst-hit cities in India
Ashok Kumar | Clarion India
MUMBAI – Millions of residents in several cities in and around Mumbai are gearing up for a tough week ahead beginning Tuesday, with the local civic bodies opting for strict lockdowns to tackle the burgeoning Covid crisis.
Fortunately, residents of Mumbai have been spared the miseries of a lockdown, with the civic body claiming that the situation is well under control and things are improving daily.
But for the residents of other cities in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region – including Thane, Kalyan-Dombivali, Bhiwandi-Nizampur, Navi Mumbai – and Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad, Tuesday will see the re-imposition of tough regulations. Similarly, civic bodies in Aurangabad (in Marathwada region) and Solapur (western Maharashtra) are also resorting to similar measures.
The first phase of the lockdown from Tuesday to Sunday will see the virtual closure of most establishments in the MMR satellite cities and in Pune. These cities come under two districts of Thane and Pune, which have emerged as the worst-effected of India’s 739 districts.
Thane has been recording more than 2,000 new cases daily over the past fortnight, while Pune has seen a little under 2,000 new cases every day.
Iqbal Singh Chahal, the Municipal Commissioner of Mumbai, claims the city’s rate is now down to 1,200. The Covid-19 pandemic is on the verge of coming to an end in Mumbai, which the administration hopes will see the ‘R’ rate (the effective reproduction number, signifying the average number of people that an infected person will pass the virus to) come down to 1 in a few days.
Confident about having overtaken the pandemic, the civic administration has eased transportation curbs by allowing its double-decker buses to be on the roads from Monday. However, each bus will be carrying just half the number of passengers (45 instead of 90) that it is geared for.
While Mumbai residents have been spared the trauma of going through the second phase of the lockdown, millions of others in the satellite cities, and Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad and a few others in the state will see the return of lockdown on Tuesday. Millions of residents will be forced to stay at home, shops will be closed (at least for the first few days) and thousands of police personnel will take control of all major junctions.
Over the past two days, most of the public places in these cities were packed with residents desperately buying vegetables, grocery items and other necessities fearing a shortage of supplies. Most shops, except outlets selling milk, medicines and other essential items, will have to remain closed, warn the district officials.
Maharashtra is the worst-affected state in India with more than 10,000 patients having died, over a quarter million confirmed cases and 103,000 active cases. India has seen over 23,000 deaths and has more than 300,000 active cases.