In order to curb the spread of novel coronavirus cases in the state and enhance the vaccination drive, Maharashtra cabinet minister Aslam Shaikh on Tuesday cautioned against lifting coronavirus-induced curbs without completing vaccination of half the adult population in the state.

He said lifting curbs without inoculating 50 per cent of the adult population against COVID-19 in Maharashtra, where lockdown-like restrictions are in place till June 1, may lead to a fresh wave of the infection.

Speaking to reporters, Shaikh said, “It would be an invitation for (a fresh) coronavirus outbreak if lockdown is lifted without completing the inoculation of half the population in Mumbai and the state. The state cabinet is still mulling over how to introduce relaxations to provide some relief to traders and businesspersons.”

“The state COVID-19 task force is going to discuss all the aspects at its review meetings. The state is mulling over giving priority to certain shops to operate…which services should be preferred over others… shops with air conditioning should be allowed or not among other issues,” he said, adding that a final decision will be taken after a comprehensive assessment of the prevailing situation, the minister said.

Since last month, the state, worst-affected by the pandemic in the country, is under a slew of curbs enforced to check the spread of coronavirus. Meanwhile, Maharashtra registered 24,136 new Covid-19 cases, 601 deaths in the last 24 hours, taking the caseload and death toll to 56,26,155 and 90,349 respectively, according to the state health department’s bulletin.

This is the sixth successive day that the daily new cases of Covid-19 in Maharashtra remained below the 30,000-mark.

Meanwhile, Mumbai recorded 1,037 new Covid-19 cases today that took its tally to 6,99,904, while 37 patients died of the infection and 1,427 recovered from it, an official from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation said.

With the latest casualties, the city’s toll has risen to 14,708 and the count of recoveries has reached 6,55,425, the official said.

However, Amid attempts to check novel coronavirus surge in the state, Maharashtra government has shunned the option of home isolation for patients and instead made institutional quarantine must in areas that have a high Covid positivity rate.

“We have decided to stop home isolation for patients of 18 districts where the positivity rate is high. The patients from these districts will have to go to a quarantine center, won’t be allowed home isolation,” said Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope.

The 18 districts are Pune, Thane, Satara, Sindhadurg, Ratnagiri, Osmanabad, Beed, Raigad, Hingoli, Akola, Amravati, Kolhapur, Sangli, Gadchiroli, Wardha, Nasik, Ahmednagar, Latur.

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