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Mumbai — Maharashtra on Saturday recorded 8,623 new Covid-19 infections, taking the count to 2,146,777. It also recorded 51 deaths, taking the toll to 52,092. The state has reported more than 8,000 cases for four days in a row now. Amid the rise in cases in Maharashtra, district authorities extended the lockdown imposed in Amravati, Akola, Akot and Murjitapur by another week (till March 8), after a lockdown was enforced in these places from February 22 till March 1. The Nagpur district administration had also announced a lockdown on Saturday and Sunday.

Shelesh Nawal, district collector, Amravati, confirmed that the lockdown has been extended till March 8. Jitendra Papalkar, district collector, Akola said, “We will review the situation by March 5 or 6. If the situation is under control, we might also bring in some relaxations.” Papalkar said that the district administration has also increased tests drastically in the past month. “We are conducting tests to the tune of 2,500-2,700 a day now.”

The essential services in the three regions have also been restricted to functioning between 8am and 3pm.

Compared to January when the state recorded 92,177 new cases of Covid-19, the state has already recorded 123,015 cases till February 27, a 33% increase in fresh infections.

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In the past four days itself, the state has recorded more than 25,000 new infections. In his address to citizens last Sunday, chief minister Uddhav Thackeray had stated that the state would review the situation in the next few days to decide on a second lockdown, however, there is no decision on it yet except the lockdown imposed in some districts. A senior official from the state government said, “We are strictly monitoring the situation in districts. While the situation does not seem to be as bad as September-October 2020 when the state saw a massive upsurge, however, people have to be more cautious and maintain Covid-appropriate behavior.”

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On Saturday, Mumbai reported 987 cases and 4 deaths, taking the count to 324,866 cases and 11,470 fatalities. Cities like Pune, Nagpur, and Nashik reported 743, 838 and 550 cases respectively. Districts like Amravati and Akola (both city and district) reported 545 and 287 cases respectively. Following an increase in cases in Vidharbha, which includes districts like Amravati, Akola, Yavatmal and Washim, a seven-day lockdown in Amravati city and Achalpur town started from Monday evening, while other districts have restricted shop and establishment timings. Marathwada districts, including Parbhani, Hingoli, Nanded and Latur, have imposed a night curfew and restriction on the travellers coming from affected Vidarbha districts. Schools and colleges in all these districts have been closed for few weeks.

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