Maharashtra brings back some Covid curbs after Delta Plus cases found in state

Maharashtra brings back some Covid curbs after Delta Plus cases found in state

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Faced with a sudden surge of covid cases in the last one week and also fears over the spread of the Delta Plus variant, the Maharashtra government on Friday decided to cancel the sops given to districts to allow establishments and businesses to run if they were under Level 1 and Level 2. Friday’s order has brought all the state’s districts under level 3 which puts several restrictions on the running of businesses and their timings.

In Friday’s order issued by the State Disaster Management Authority says, “ Given that the virus causing Covid 19 is undergoing mutations in various geographies and that these mutations are displaying more transmissibility .. a state Level Trigger mandating all the administrative units,irrespective of values of indices of weekly positivity rate and oxygen bed occupancy percentage to remain at a level not below 3.”

In its new order the state has said that districts cannot remove restrictions based on weekly positivity rates and that these tests should be conducted only through RT-PCRT tests and not the Rapid Antigen Tests. The development comes as the Maharashtra government has been alarmed by reports of people converging in districts ignoring covid protocols and in spite of reports of the Delta Plus strain being found in the state. State government officials believe that the third wave or the Delta plus variant could hit the state within the next couple of months unless the state steps in.

In its order the state has said the local District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) in each district can impose ‘ higher level of restrictions or further restrictions. “The DDMA shall not require prior permission of the SDMA for going for higher level of restrictions or putting extra restrictions.”

The state has also made it clear to districts that removing restrictions should only be done after observing a ‘two week trend of cases’. Meaning for at least two weeks cases in a district should be on a declining graph and only then can the restrictons be relaxed. However if districts see a rise in cases then they do not have to wait for two weeks and can immediately increase the restrictions.

Friday’s order means the state that the order issued on June 7
th by the state government bringing in five levels for opening up of the state has been modified. Districts coming under Level 1 had the most relaxations that allowed shops and establishments including those selling non essential items to function as usual. Malls, Multiplexes and Theatres can function in Level 1, where as they can resume with 50 per cent capacity in Level 2, however they would be shut in level 3,4 and 5.

Under the earlier order districts coming under Level 1 (having positivity rates less than 5% and occupancy of oxygenated below 25%). Level 2 should include areas with a positivity rate below 5% and oxygenated bed occupancy between 25 per cent and 40 per cent.

Districts with a positivity rate between 5 per cent and 10 per cent and occupancy of oxygenated beds of more than 40 per cent would come under level 3.

In Level 4, the positivity rate should be between 10 per cent and 20 per cent or the bed occupancy of oxygenated beds should be more than 60 per cent. In Level 5 which hass the most stringent restrictions, districts with a positivity rate of more than 20 per cent or more than 75 per cent of the oxygenated beds should be occupied.

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