Hinting towards a probable new lockdown in Pune district, Maharashtra Deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar on Friday warned of "stringent decisions" to be taken if the Covid-19 situation in the district does not improve in one week.
Pawar, who is guardian minister for Pune, told reporters the situation was becoming serious.
"If the situation (in terms of rising Covid-19 cases) remains the same, we will have to take more stringent decisions in the district by the first week of April," the minister said.
When asked about why no fresh restrictions were being imposed in view of the surging cases, Pawar said the previous experiences were that people complain about not getting enough notice before restrictions come into effect.
"Suppose if we announce lockdown from today, many people would not be able to get food in the evening. By giving time, people will at least get some time to store groceries and vegetables. We want to make people mentally ready," he said.
The government also has to think of the poor who live from hand to mouth, Pawar said.
If Covid-19 rules are not followed by people, the administration will have to take some strict decision by April 2, he warned.
"For example, we have not imposed any new restrictions on hotels and restaurants. They are allowed to operate till 10 pm with 50 per cent capacity. But if the situation remains the same, we will have no option but to close hotels and only parcel service will be allowed," he said.
Pune Mayor Murlidhar Mohol who attended the review meeting held by Pawar, said some decision about lockdown can be taken if the things did not improve.
Pawar also said that maximum 50 persons will be permitted at weddings and 20 persons at funerals. Social and political events have been banned.
In view of the surge in infections, the state government has decided to take control of 50 per cent of beds in private hospitals, he said.
"We have already started a jumbo hospital in Pune and a jumbo facility in Pimpri Chinchwad will be operational from April," said the deputy chief minister.
The number of beds at the Sassoon General Hospital has been increased to 500, he said, adding that an officer has been appointed to ensure that oxygen supply in hospitals remains uninterrupted.
"We are in talks with an oxygen plant in Raigad district in case we need additional supply," he said.
There are also plans to double the number of vaccination centres in the district, he said.
"We had a discussion with Union Minister Prakash Javadekar and we have sought additional vaccine doses for the district. He has agreed to look into the issue," Pawar said.
A special court for lawmakers in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh on Friday acquitted former Union minister and BJP leader Swami Chinmayanand in connection with a rape case observing that the prosecution could not prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
(With inputs from PTI)