on Saturday imposed restrictions on the timings of restaurants, bars, banquet halls and shops in seven hotspots till March 31.
The Central team has a point when it says that the approach to the current surge may have to be different from the one in the early stages of the pandemic. At the same time, it is important to recognize that restrictions play a role in preventing overcrowding or casual movement of people which could further the spread of the virus, especially when people don’t follow mask mandates and other norms.
The back-to-back measures in the state are being taken at a time when a Central team has said a total
The approach should be more surveillance centric rather than hospital centric, said the three-member expert team dispatched by the Centre, which recently toured six Maharashtra districts. State surveillance officer Pradeep Awate, who was with the central team as it toured Nashik, Dhule, Jalgaon, Aurangabad and Mumbai, said the experts were of the opinion that random lockdowns do not curtail spread.
“A lockdown was necessary in the early stages of the pandemic, when we had to shore up infrastructure. But it’s not needed at this stage,” Awate said.
Instead of widespread curbs, the team suggested large-scale testing, strict monitoring of clusters and a stop to all large gatherings. The suggestions were compiled into a report and discussed during the Pune district review meeting on Friday.
Sharp Covid-19 surges have been reported in most districts in Vidarbha, including Nagpur, Amravati and Akola; Pune, Thane, Mumbai in western Maharashtra; and Nashik, Dhule and Jalgaon in the north.
The central team’s suggestions stated the affected districts should implement containment strategies that were in place during the August-September surge. It also called for increased door-to-door surveillance with a focus on maximum contact tracing and swab collection.
The team said doctors should monitor all reports coming in from the field teams.
MBMC has adopted the containment zone strategy. Eateries in the hotspots will shut by 11pm instead of 1am and shops an hour earlier by 10pm. The hotspots are mostly residential areas. Poonam Sagar, Mira Road, Sadanana Nagar in Murdha village, Bhayander, vicinity of Hotel Sai Leela in Penkarpada and Kashimira are some of the containment zones. Restaurants and shops in other areas can function as usual. Active cases in MBMC totalled 792 on Friday.