COVID19: Is Maharashtra heading for a lockdown?

In the last 24 hours, Maharashtra, the state worst affected due to COVID-19, has recorded the highest daily new cases at 56,286 and 376 deaths. Rajesh Tope, the state health minister, hinted at the complete lockdown in case the situation did not improve.

Gaon Connection
| Updated: April 9th, 2021

Last week, the Maharashtra government enforced a complete weekend lockdown. Pic used for representation purpose. Photo: Wandering PJB/flickr

Maharashtra is heading for a lockdown in case the COVID-19 situation does not change in the state. Rajesh Tope, the state health minister, said this today in an interview to NDTV.

“We are heading towards a lockdown but I hope that we don’t have to go for one,” he told the news channel. “Before that if we contain the virus, we will be happy, satisfied and contented. We are hoping for the best,” the minister added.

In the last 24 hours, Maharashtra, the state worst affected due to COVID-19, has recorded the highest daily new cases at 56,286 and 376 deaths. Mumbai, the state capital, has registered 8,938 new cases and 25 deaths.

Meanwhile, daily new COVID19 cases continue to rise in the country. In the last 24 hours, 131,968 new cases have been registered, the highest daily since the pandemic started a year ago.

Last week, the Maharashtra government enforced a complete weekend lockdown and night curfew during the week days in the state, which came into effect from April 5.

Also Read: 11,163 new COVID19 cases in Mumbai today; Maharashtra govt declares weekend lockdown

Vijay Vadettiwar, minister, Relief and Rehabilitation, Maharashtra, said “looking at the present COVID situation weekend lockdown will not be useful instead a strict lockdown of three weeks needs to be imposed.”

Cumulative coverage report of COVID19 vaccination by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare shows that as of today, April 9, Maharashtra has administered 3,691,511 doses in the last 24 hours. So far, over nine million [9,338,531] doses have been administered in the state — the highest in the country.

As of April 8, Maharashtra is estimated to have vaccinated 26 per cent of the population above 60 years of age. The national average also stands at 26 per cent.

Yesterday, Tope said the state has only two days of stock of COVID-19 vaccines, after which it will officially run out of vaccine doses for the immunisation drive. “We want at least 40 lakh [four million] vaccine doses every week,” he said.

Today, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation tweeted how vaccination centres in the metropolis had to be shut due to vaccine shortage. 

Meanwhile, the Centre has accused the Maharashtra government of wasting the doses due to a lack of planning by the state government. Yesterday, the Union minister Prakash Javedkar said that the Maharashtra government has wasted over 500,000 doses.

“Total number of COVID vaccine supplied to State till date- 1,06,19,190; Consumption – 90,53,523 (of which 6% wastage – over 5L),” Prakash Javedkar, the Union minister, tweeted yesterday.

Also Read: COVID19: Which states in India are reporting ‘vaccine shortage’? Details here

Javedkar accused that “Maharashtra Govt should not play politics over vaccination.” In response, Tope rejected the Union minister’s claim. “Hon’ble Union Minister’s facts are NOT upto the mark. Wastage quoted is actually national average wastage percentage. State wastage is lesser than half of the national average wastage percentage,” he tweeted.

As per the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, average COVID-19 vaccine wastage stands at 6.5 per cent in India. Telangana has the maximum vaccine wastage in the country, at 17.5 per cent. It is followed by Andhra Pradesh (11.5 per cent),  Uttar Pradesh (9.4 per cent), Karnataka (6.9 per cent), Jammu & Kashmir (6.5 per cent), Rajasthan (5.6 per cent), Assam (5.5 per cent), Gujarat (5.3 per cent), West Bengal (4.1 per cent). Whereas at 3.2 per cent, Maharashtra has the lowest vaccine wastage.

Yesterday, while addressing a meeting to review the ongoing COVID19 situation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that a major part of COVID-19 management is to prevent vaccine wastage.

Speaking with the chief ministers during the meeting, Modi said, “We need to prioritise what is available with us; we can’t put all vaccines at one state because we need to manage the whole nation. A major part of COVID-19 management is also to prevent vaccine wastage.” Earlier this month, the Centre had asked states to keep vaccine wastage below one per cent.

As per the World Health Organization (WHO), vaccine wastage includes any dose discarded, lost, damaged or destroyed. One of the reasons for COVID-19 vaccination wastage is low turn up and poor planning, says the central government.