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Amid pandemic, Maharashtra may re-open places of worship after Diwali: Uddhav

Following last Monday's power outage, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had asked all stakeholders to expedite the project by adhering to the timelinesPremium
Following last Monday's power outage, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had asked all stakeholders to expedite the project by adhering to the timelines

  • Thackeray also informed that the state government were in talks with the Centre for the resumption of Mumbai local services for general public
  • Meanwhile, classes 9 to 12 of schools in Maharashtra will reopen from November 23, he added

Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday said that the state will take a cautious view on re-opening of religious places and hinted that permission may be granted post Diwali festivities to avoid over crowing in the wake of novel coronavirus pandemic.

"We are considering to reopen schools after Diwali while taking all precautionary measures. Religious places will also be allowed to open," Thackeray said while addressing the people of the state today.

In a webcast, Thackeray said he is getting flak for going slow on reopening of places of religious worship.

"I am ready for brickbats if it ensures good health and safety of citizens. How to avoid crowds and ensure physical distancing in places of worship will be worked out and a standard operating procedure will be drafted after Diwali."

"We are so involved in offering prayers and may neglect COVID-19 safety protocols. What if a coronavirus positive person infects senior citizens from our families who visit the places of worship he said.

He also stressed on the importance of wearing a face mask whenever stepping outside. "A COVID-19 patient moving without face mask in crowd can infect around 400 persons," Thackeray said.

He added that wearing of masks will be mandatory in places of worship.

Thackeray appealed to the citizens to avoid bursting firecrackers as pollution can affect COVID-19 patients.

In his address, the CM also informed that the state government were in talks with the Centre for the resumption of Mumbai local services for general public. "The decision will be taken soon," he said.

He also said Delhi is seeing a surge in coronavirus cases, adding itis said pollution was the cause. "Let us have self control and restrain from bursting firecrackers which will lead to pollution.Let us not waste nine months' of hard work against the pandemic during four days of Diwali celebrations," he said

Moreover, classes 9 to 12 of schools in Maharashtra will reopen from November 23, school education minister Varsha Gaikwad said on Saturday.

Gaikwad made the announcement at a video conference held by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.

Classes 9 to 12 should reopen after Diwali with all COVID-19 safety protocols in place, he said.

A second wave of COVID-19 pandemic was possible looking at the situation elsewhere in the world, so the administration must be cautious, the chief minister warned.

"We need to be extra cautious after Diwali. Quarantine centers in schools cannot be shut. The local administration can take decision regarding alternative places for classrooms. Sanitization of schools, coronavirus tests for teachers and other precautions are a must," the CM said.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra on Saturday reported 3,959 new COVID-19 cases and 150 deaths.

The state's count of coronavirus cases has gone up to 17,14,273. The state has reported 99,151 active cases and 45,115 persons have died due to the disease.

Of these, Mumbai reported 576 new COVID-19 cases and 23 deaths today.

"Mumbai reported 576 new COVID-19 cases, 245 recovered cases and 23 deaths today. Total cases in Mumbai stands at 2,63,052 including 2,35,657 discharges, 16,262 active cases and 10,419 deaths," said Municipal Corporation, Greater Mumbai.

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