Unlock 1: Maharashtra govt may announce certain lockdown relaxations today. Here’s what to expect

Maharashtra government is expected to announce revised guidelines on lockdown relaxations and nature of the fifth phase of Covid-19 lockdown on Sunday. This comes a day after the Central government released guidelines on lockdown 5.0 which is being billed as ‘Unlock 1’. The phase will see a major cut in lockdown restrictions across the country, barring in Covid-19 containment zones. State governments have been allowed to come up with their respective guidelines on the same.

Maharashtra has registered a recovery rate of 43.09 percent, wherein 28,081 patients have recovered from coronavirus. There are 34,881 active positive cases of coronavirus in the state out of the total 65,168 positive cases.

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‘Gradual and calibrated’

According to the Maharashtra government, the opening up of the state will happen in a “gradual and calibrated manner”, even as the cases will go up. The state government is considering moving “cautiously” and relaxations would be given on the degree of “contact” and “essential” nature of the service.

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 Also Watch | Lockdown 5 or Reopen 1? E-passes, curfew, malls, bars: New rules explained

Covid-19 hotspot areas such as Mumbai, Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) and Pune are likely to remain under lockdown even as the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Saturday issued guidelines for the phased reopening of activities outside containment zones.

Also read: Tamil Nadu extends lockdown till June 30. Here’s what you can and can’t do now

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What to expect

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has already indicated that he is not keen to lift curbs in Mumbai, Pune and MMR. On Saturday, NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Thackeray also had a meeting discussing further on opening up of the lockdown. Following this, Thackeray is expected to announce the same after consultation with senior state government officials.

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The Ministry of Home Affairs, in its guidelines on Saturday, has allowed the opening up of religious places/places of worship, hotels, restaurants, and other hospitality services, shopping malls from June 8. The state government has not decided yet on this but is unlikely to allow the opening of malls, among others.

Further, it is expected that the state government could remove some of the municipal corporations, excluding municipal corporations of Mumbai, Pune, from the red zone category. Other municipal corporations including Dhule, Solapur, Aurangabad, Malegaon, Nashik, Dhule, Jalgaon, Akola, Amravati and Nagpur cities are in the red zone.

For offices and workplaces

Since more offices are likely to go operational in the near future, the state has issued guidelines for its employees. In a public health department order dated May 30, it has asked the employees to effectively use e-office regime, avoid travelling in groups, sanitise working places regularly.

It has also mandated for the regular checking of the employees with an infrared thermal scanner, use of three-layer masks, etc.

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The order also stated that any employee found with a temperature more than 100.4 degrees should be institutionally quarantined and workplaces found with more than 5 positive patients to be fumigated and sealed.

Meanwhile, Madhav Sathe, former microbiology professor at Nair Hospital said, “We should hope India has reached the peak of the coronavirus graph and cases will slowly decrease over the next 3 to 4 weeks. Recovery rate has also increased to around 41 to 42% This may improve if the best treatment strategy gets emerged in the next few weeks in India.”

Sathe added, “By mid-July most cases will be milder.” On whether Mumbai can get ride of lockdown by July, Sathe said crowding still may have to be avoided. “With maximum precautions, mask, eye shield, washing hands after reaching office and maintaining good immunity is all that will be needed, and crowding still will have to be avoided,” he said.

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