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Decision of extending Covid-19 lockdown only after April 14: Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday said a decision on the coronavirus-enforced lockdown will be taken at an appropriate time after a review amid hints it may continue in the state beyond April 14.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday said that the decision on whether or not the lockdown should be extended in the state will be taken only after April 14 when the lockdown is supposed to end.

A 21-day nationwide lockdown is in force since March 25 to facilitate social distancing and halt the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus.

In a first, Uddhav Thackeray held a meeting of his cabinet on video conference from his official residence in Mumbai.

Other Maharashtra ministers like Balasaheb Thorat, Chhagan Bhujbal, Jayant Patil, Eknath Shinde and Aaditya Thackeray were physically present at the meeting.

The other ministers joined them via video conferencing.

Uddhav Thackeray reportedly said at the meeting that he is not in favour of taking any decision regarding the extension until the existing lockdown period is over.

Availability of testing kits, medical facilities, essential commodities and community kitchens figured in the discussion during the cabinet meeting.

Principal Secretary (Health) Dr Pradeep Vyas and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi briefed the Cabinet on the measures they have taken in the battle against Covid-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet has decided to expand the affordable meal scheme ‘Shiv Bhojan’ to the taluka level. The meal will be available at Rs 5 at centre across the state for the next three months. These centres will be open between 11 am to 3 pm. The decision has been taken in view of the stranded labourers and the poor who have lost their employment during the lockdown.

Uddhav Thackeray has authorised district collectors to take decisions on posting of home guards, while local officials would decide on timings for distribution of essential items.

The Maharashtra government has also decided to acquire the services of registered doctors and other medical staff.

At present, the state has 10,317 isolation beds, 2,666 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds, 1,317 ventilators and 41,400 Personal Protection Equipments.

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