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The decision on relaxation in local trains had been put on hold and the final call would be taken by Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Tuesday.

"We are not saying no, but the decision for relaxation in local trains has been put on hold. Many aspects to be considered before taking a call. CM will discuss it further," the Maharashtra health minister has said.

Tope also said that the districts with high growth and positivity rates have been strictly instructed to adhere to Covid-appropriate behaviour. "In flood-affected areas, we have asked authorities for strict implementation of Covid protocols. If we stick to this, increase testing, numbers may come down," the minister said.

Earlier in July, Maharashtra Minister Aslam Shaikh informed that a decision on allowing people fully vaccinated against coronavirus to travel on Mumbai local trains unrestricted would be taken soon.

Mumbai local train services were suspended for the general public for the second time since March last year after an increase in Covid-19 cases in the city on 15 April.

Why vaccinated people can't travel in Mumbai locals, asks HC

On Monday, the Bombay High Court asked the Maharashtra government why people who had received both doses of coronavirus vaccine could not be permitted to travel by local trains in Mumbai.

What was even the purpose of taking both doses of the vaccine if citizens were expected to stay inside their homes even after taking the anti-Covid-19 jabs, a bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni asked.

At present, only frontline health workers and government staff are permitted to use local trains, which are considered as the lifeline of Mumbai.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra eased Covid restrictions in most districts, including Mumbai, after a steady decline in new infections.

Shops, malls and parks were allowed to open for longer and offices were allowed to operate at full capacity. However, cinemas, schools and places of worship will remain closed, as per a state government notice late on Monday.

Maharashtra has been the worst-affected state in the country's Covid-19 outbreak, accounting for over 6 million of the 31.7 million cases.

At the peak of the second wave of infections driven by the Delta variant of the virus in April and May, state authorities imposed restrictions on movements and only let essential shops open.

But as cases have declined in recent weeks, there has been pressure on authorities to ease the curbs.

Mumbai's suburban train network, which ferries over 80 lakh people a day, remained shut as fears of a new outbreak loomed.

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