Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday said people should use face masks, vaccinate themselves and follow discipline if they don’t wish to experience COVID-19 restrictions again.
Speaking at the state COVID-19 task force meeting amid a rise in the number of cases over the past few days, Thackeray said the government will keep a watch over the situation for a fortnight.
Maharashtra on Thursday recorded 1,045 new coronavirus infections and one death, taking the active tally to 4,559. The state’s caseload stands at 78,89,212, and death toll is 1,47,861.
“If people don’t want restrictions again, they should follow discipline on their own. Use masks, observe physical distance, sanitize and vaccinate,” he said, adding that the cases had risen by seven-fold in the last one-and-half month.
State Health Secretary Pradeep Vyas, who gave a detailed presentation of the virus situation during the meeting, said the the state reported the lowest 626 active cases on April 16 this year, while it had risen to over 4,500 on Thursday.
Mumbai, which witnessed 704 cases during the day, Thane, Pune and some other urban areas are driving the surge and account for 97 per cent of the tally.
Mumbai’s positivity rate, or cases detected per 100 tests, stood at 6 per cent, double that of the state, which was 3 per cent.
Citing expert opinion that the number of cases was likely to rise further, the CM said,” We will keep watch for the next 15 days. Citizens should follow COVID appropriate behaviour to avoid further spread.” He asked officials to keep ready field hospitals, constructed during the peak of the pandemic, as well as take stock of existing health infrastructure. He also stressed on the need for expediting vaccination.
Thackeray said schools will reopen soon and asked the authorities to seek information about what decisions have been taken in other places about safety of children and what are the chances of them getting infected.
The CM asked people to get themselves tested if they were experiencing cold, cough and throat irritation.
“Wear masks in crowded public places. Vaccination of the 12-18 age group should be expedited and booster dose should be taken. Oxygen and medicines should be kept on standby. Monsoon-related illnesses have symptoms like COVID 19 and, hence, doctors should advice their patients to get themselves tested,” Thackeray said.