In a significant development, Maharashtra recorded zero Covid-19 deaths – first time since April 1, 2020 – emboldening the state government to announce easing of curbs in 14 districts, including Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur, from Friday (March 4), as per an official notification.
For the first time in two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, the state entered the Green Zone as far as fatalities are concerned but recorded 544 new patients, besides 38 Omicron cases during the day, while active cases stood at 5,643.
The cumulative Covid-19 cases recorded in the state now touched 78,66,924, and the total fatalities recorded are 143,706, besides 4,771 Omicron patients – all highest in the country – but the day’s developments spread cheer among the health authorities.
Given the favourable conditions, the state opened up all religious places, restaurants, bars, cinemas, theatres, shopping complexes, gymnasiums, spas, swimming pools, tourist places, amusements parks etc in 14 districts, while 50 per cent restrictions will continue in the remaining 22 districts.
These are Mumbai City and Mumbai Suburban, Raigad, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Pune, Satara, Kolhapur, Sangli, Bhandara, Nagpur, Wardha, Gondiya and Chandrapur.
The move to loosen the restrictions was taken at the State Executive Committee meeting on February 25, based on inputs from the Health Department and the Covid-19 Task Force, based on various parameters including the percentage of vaccination, positivity rate, bed occupancy with or without oxygen or ICU beds.
In the 14 districts, the government has allowed resumption of physical classes in all academic institutions, from pre-primary to university levels, but they will be encouraged to leverage a hybrid model of imparting education through online-offline methods.
Work From Home will no longer be mandatory as all government, private, industries, scientific institutions can now function with full attendance.
Similarly, all social, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural, religious, political, festivals, marriages and funerals will be allowed upto 50 percent capacity, but if the attendance is over 1,000 people, the nod of the District Disaster Management Authority will be required.
All deliveries, e-commerce, couriers have been permitted in the 14 districts, and restrictions on intra-district and inter-state travel for the fully vaccinated persons have been lifted, and the others would require valid negative RTPCR test reports.