The Kolhapur district in Maharashtra will go under a stringent 10-day lockdown from May 5 in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases in western Maharashtra, Guardian Minister Satej Patil said on Tuesday.
Kolhapur is the fourth district in the sugar heartland to follow suit after stern lockdowns were previously imposed in Satara, Sangli and Baramati, all of which have reported heightened case positivity rates in the last few days.
All shops, grocery stores, business establishments and other enterprises, barring medical stores and milk booths, would remain completely shut in Kolhapur, authorities said.
The decision was taken following a meeting today morning, in which along with Mr. Patil, Rural Development Minister Hasan Mushrif, Minister of State for Health Rajendra Patil-Yadravkar and senior Kolhapur district administration authorities were present.
“In view of the increasing number of patients in the district, it has been decided to observe strict lockdown for the next ten days from 11 a.m. onwards on May 5. Currently, there is a heightened demand for oxygen in the district. This demand will soar rapidly if cases keep rising. So, the decision to lockdown has been taken in order to break the virus chain and pre-empt any panic situation,” Mr. Patil said.
The lockdown is being viewed as a pre-emptive measure to reduce a possible strain on the district’s health infrastructure. While the number of active cases in the district are lower in comparison to other worse-affected areas like Pune, Mumbai, Nagpur, Satara, Ahmednagar and Nashik, Kolhapur nevertheless witnessed a steady rise in cases throughout April. It currently has more than 11,000 active cases and has reported over 1,800 deaths so far.
“The district’s case positivity rate is increasing. Currently, there are 2,400 patients on oxygen [support], which is being supplied from Sangli, Sindhudurg, Nipani, and Belagavi districts,” said Mr. Patil.
The district had seen a negligible spread with less than ten cases reported per day in December last year and even during the first phase of the ongoing second wave.
While an average of 300 cases were reported throughout the first half of April in Kolhapur, cases and fatalities began to shoot up in the latter half of April, with an average of 800 cases being reported a day, which has further risen to 1,300 cases in the past few days.
On Monday, the district reported its highest single-day spike and fatalities of more than 1,700 cases and 31 deaths.
Meanwhile, a seven-day lockdown began in the neighbouring Satara district on Tuesday, which has been reporting more than 2,000 cases and 40 deaths daily. Police were seen confiscating vehicles of errant citizens.