Maharashtra, which suffered worst from Covid, will say goodbye to all pandemic-related restrictions from Saturday as the state welcomes the Marathi New Year. The use of masks will be advised, but it will not be compulsory, the state government said. Bengal and Delhi too, removed the “mandatory” tag from masks, though their use has been advised in crowded areas.
In Maharashtra, the announcement came from the Office of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
“All COVID restrictions in Maharashtra will be lifted, as we bring in the new year this Gudi Padwa!” read a tweet from its handle, referring to the spring festival to mark the traditional New Year for Marathi and Konkani Hindus.
The decision to drop all restrictions after nearly two years was taken at a cabinet meeting chaired by the Chief Minister, the state Health Minister, Rajesh Tope, told reporters.
The number of fresh daily Covid infections in the state has dwindled to around 100 a day and no new fatalities are being reported. On Monday, there were 964 active cases across 35 districts. Yavatmal, Washim and Hingoli districts have zero active cases, read a report from the state health department.
Altogether, the state has reported 78,73,619 cases of infections since the outbreak started in 2020; 1,47,780 people have died, the health department said.
The total number of infections so far is 4,30,24,440.
Maharashtra, which bore the brunt of Covid through the first and second wave, had implemented tough restrictions, banning processions and physical “darshan” at pandals during last year’s Ganesh Chaturthi, the state’s biggest festival. The police declared that any violation will incur strict action.