Uddhav Thackeray warns of another lockdown amid rising Covid-19 cases
Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday asked people to strictly follow government-mandated guidelines on masks and social distancing or be prepared to face another round of lockdown as the state reported more than 3,000 cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) on Tuesday for the seventh straight day.
Maharashtra registered 3,663 new cases of the coronavirus disease on Tuesday, 461 of them in Mumbai, after reporting 4,092 infections on Sunday, highest single-day tally in more than a month.
Thackeray said it was up to the state’s citizens to decide if they want to go into a complete lockdown again to curb the spread of the infection, expressing concern over the lackadaisical attitude in following Covid-19-related safety protocols. "It is up to the people of the state to decide if they want a lockdown or live freely with some restrictions. Wear face masks and avoid crowds or else (you) will need to go into a lockdown again," Thackeray said, according to news agency PTI.
Before this, Mumbai’s mayor Kishori Pednekar urged the citizens to follow Covid-19 norms and said that the city might head again towards a lockdown if the citizens do not follow Covid-19 rules. The increase in the number of Covid-19 cases was reported in the city ten days after the local trains, considered to be the lifeline of Mumbai, were restarted for the general public from February 1.
Maharashtra’s deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar also has warned that the state government might have to take some ‘harsh’ decisions as, according to him, people have stopped following Covid-19 appropriate behaviour.
The chief minister asked officials to ensure that safety norms like wearing face masks in public and social distancing are followed and authorised them to take action against offenders. He also asked them to regularly sanitise and disinfect public places. “People may have become complacent but the authorities should not (drop guard)," Thackeray said during a virtual review meeting with divisional commissioners and collectors, according to PTI.
Non-implementation of the standard operating procedures regarding Covid-19 safety is a serious issue, Thackeray said and stressed the need for contact tracing of each patient in areas where cases are rising. "The administration should contact commercial establishments and organisations and check if they are following SoPs. Wherever necessary, declare containment zones… Contact tracing must be done in a targeted manner. At least 20 contacts of each patient should be traced and tested," the CM suggested.
Thackeray said people will need the police’s permission for organising weddings, adding that local authorities should keep a vigil on crowding and take immediate action wherever necessary. Banquet hall owners should be punished if anybody is found without a face mask inside the venues, he said. The chief minister said agitations, public meetings and processions should not be permitted given the present Covid-19 situation.
Authorities should cancel permits and licences of halls and auditoriums where safety SoPs are not followed during marriages and other social functions, he said. The chief minister directed that field hospitals should be monitored to check if all facilities are functional. He also said that mobile vans should be used in rural areas to increase the number of Covid-19 tests.
The state has recorded 2,071,306 cases of the coronavirus disease and related 51,591 deaths to date.
(With agency inputs)