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Maharashtra: Decision on Covid lockdown after 14 April, says health minister Tope

Police Naka Bandi at Cadburry Junction at Mahalaxmi, during the weekend lockdown by Govt of Maharashtra in Mumbai (Anshuman Poyrekar/HT Photo)Premium
Police Naka Bandi at Cadburry Junction at Mahalaxmi, during the weekend lockdown by Govt of Maharashtra in Mumbai (Anshuman Poyrekar/HT Photo)

  • The Maharashtra CM discussed several issues including availability of beds, use of Remdesivir and imposition of restrictions in today's meeting
  • The worst-hit Covid-19 state has administered over 1 crore vaccine doses state so far

Amid an unprecedented surge in coronavirus cases, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday met the state Covid-19 task force members to take a final decision on stricter curbs. A detailed plan was worked out in today's meeting.

The Maharashtra CM discussed several issues including availability of oxygen and beds, use of Remdesivir, treatment protocols, increase in capacity of facilities, fines for violating Covid-19 protocols and imposition of restrictions in today's meeting.

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope, Directorate of Medical Education and Research Dr TP Lahane, Taskforce chief Dr Sanjay Oak, along with others attended a meeting called by CM Thackeray via video conferencing.

At today's meeting with CM Thackeray, the state Covid-19 task force members have recommended to the Maharashtra government to enforce a lockdown in the state.

An appropriate decision regarding imposing a lockdown in Maharashtra will be taken after April 14, state Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Sunday, according to PTI reports.

He was speaking to reporters after a virtual meeting of the COVID-19 task force chaired by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to discuss measures, including imposition of a lockdown in the state, to break the virus chain.

"Duration of the lockdown and how to handle its economic fallout was discussed during today's meeting. The task force is of the view that the prevailing coronavirus situation in the state is such that a lockdown is required," the minister said.

After the meeting, Maharashtra Congress Minister Aslam Sheikh informed, "In today's meeting with the state COVID-19 Task Force, everyone was of the view to impose lockdown in the state. SOPs and guidelines for it to be discussed."

Sheikh also informed that some of the people in today's meeting were of the view that a lockdown should be imposed for 2 weeks, some were in favour of a 3-week lockdown. A meeting will be held again tomorrow.

"We've asked Covid-19 task force to study why cases are increasing only in Maharashtra and not in states where elections are being held," Shaikh said.

He added: "Many ministers are campaigning with mass gatherings there but there is no surge in Covid-19 cases."

CM Thackeray will meet bureaucrats today night at 9 pm and hold meeting with trade associations on Monday. Any decision on further restrictions may be taken tomorrow, according to reports.

This comes as Maharashtra has been recording over 50,000 daily cases for the past few days, taking the tally to 33,43,951.

Meanwhile, the worst-hit Covid-19 state has administered over 1 crore vaccine doses state so far.

Earlier today, Tope said that a lockdown has not been imposed yet. He, however, said that the CM has held deliberations with people from various sectors in wake of resurgence of Covid cases. "Final decision on imposing lockdown will be taken by CM himself," he said.

Covid vaccine shortage hits Maharashtra

Maharashtra has also been reporting a shortage of Covid-19 vaccines for the last two days. The state health minister and other ministers have raised this issue with the Centre.

Reacting to this, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said, "Maharashtra has received 1.10 crore doses as per the latest report updated till yesterday."

"There are only three states in the country that have received more than 1 crore doses, they are Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Gujarat. Maharashtra has used 95 lakhs doses till yesterday and 15.63 lakhs doses are still with them as per yesterday's report. The State is very well aware of this report and I spoke to chief secretary Sitaram Kunte (CS) as well in this regard," he said.

"This 15.63 lakhs doses must be distributed well so that there is no board saying the vaccine is not available at vaccination centres", Javadekar added.

Rise in Covid cases due to 'poor supply' of vaccines

State Congress president Nana Patole blamed the rise in coronavirus positive cases in Maharashtra due to the "poor supply" of vaccines.

Earlier on Saturday, CM Thackeray indicated the imposition of a strict lockdown in Maharashtra given the alarming rise in Covid-19 cases, as per some ministers and a senior BJP leader who attended an all-party meeting.

While Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said he would hold a meeting on Monday on working out a financial package for the sections whose livelihood will be impacted, his colleague Ashok Chavan said the "nature, scope and duration of the lockdownwill be finalised soon".

"Though no formal decision on a lockdown has arrived at the all-party meeting, the chief minister appears to be in favour of a strict lockdown," state BJP president Chandrakant Patil said while speaking to reporters after the virtual meeting, which discussed the Covid-19 situation in the state for over two hours.

Apart from prominent ministers from the ruling Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress, Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis, Patole and other leaders also attended the meeting.

"The BJP feels a lockdown is necessary, but the government should first work out a financial package for the people who will be affected," Chandrakant Patil said.

"However, Congress wants the lockdown to be less problematic, unlike the last year. We support a financial package for the affected population. The Opposition said that a financial package should be announced first," he said.

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