The Maharashtra government on June 25 issued new orders imposing uniform level three COVID-19 across the state irrespective of the positivity count and oxygen bed requirement. The additional restrictions were imposed after the Delta Plus variant of SARS-CoV-2 was detected in seven districts of the state.
The Maharashtra government order read: “Given that the virus causing COVID-19 is undergoing mutations in various geographies and that these mutations are displaying more transmissibility and potential reductions in monoclonal antibody response, a state-level trigger mandating all the administrative units — irrespective of values of the indices of weekly positivity rate and oxygen bed occupancy percentage — to remain at a level not below three is to be in operation till withdrawn by specific order of the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA).”
Citing Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia (INSACOG)’s warning, designating the Delta Plus strain a Variant of Concern based on the following characteristics: Increased transmissibility, stronger binding to receptors of lung cells, and potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response, the Maharashtra government has allowed the District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) to impose stricter restrictions in districts as and when deemed fit.
Under level three restrictions, establishments dealing in essentials will be allowed to function till 4 pm on all days. The same would apply to establishments selling non-essential items.
Malls, theatres, and multiplexes will remain closed, and restaurants will be allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity till 4 pm. After that, only takeaway and parcel services will be allowed.
A cap of 50 attendees will be imposed on weddings; for funerals it will be 20. As for construction activity, only onsite labourers will be allowed to work; others will be required to leave the site by 4 pm.Gyms and salons will stay open till 4 pm and customers will be allowed on appointment-basis that too provided there is no use of air-conditioners.
E-commerce services and public transport will be allowed.
To ensure that the ease of restrictions does not lead to further spread of COVID-19, the DDMA will be taking the following special actions also:
Push vaccination through public awareness activities and try to accomplish the goal of vaccinating at least 70 percent of the eligible adult population at the earliest.
Push the test track treat methodology to contain COVID-19 spread.
Enforce establishments to ensure safe workspaces with proper air ventilation norms.
Carry out a large number of tests and the percentage of RT-PCR tests must be as expected by the Public Health Department.
Impose fines on COVID-19 norm violators.
Avoid events, functions, activities that lead to crowding, congregation, gathering.
Declare containment zones judiciously.
Make flying squads for enforcing covid appropriate behaviour.So far in Maharashtra, the Delta Plus variant has been detected in 21 COVID-19 positive patients, out of whom one 80-year-old woman with co-morbidities succumbed to the disease on June 25, state Health Minister Rajesh Tope said.
As of now, no official confirmation has been received yet from local authorities.