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Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope has said that Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will take the final call on easing coronavirus-related restrictions across several districts of the state during today's Covid-19 task force meeting.

"We have suggested that Covid relaxation should be given to 25 districts where the positivity rate is much lower than the state average," the Maharashtra health minister has said.

Minister Tope said that in 11 districts of the state (out of the total 36), the positivity rate is higher than the state's average and the infection spread is also more. These include Beed, Ahmednagar and districts from Konkan and western Maharashtra.

When asked about factors that were a deterrent for the Maharashtra government from introducing more relaxations in Covid-19 curbs, he said the UK, Australia and some countries of the European Union have reported the onset of the third wave of coronavirus.

"Many countries have introduced lockdown again to contain the (infection) spread. The same challenges are before us well," he said. Tope appealed to people, especially from rural areas, to get vaccinated as soon as possible. The vaccination reduces the severity of the disease and also sharply reduces mortality (due to Covid-19), the health minister said.

Fully vaccinated people to travel in Mumbai local trains?

The Maharashtra disaster management department is in favour of allowing people fully vaccinated against coronavirus to travel in local trains in Mumbai, Tope said.

Till now, only people engaged in essential and emergency services, as categorised by the Maharashtra government, are allowed to travel in local trains as part of the state's efforts to check the spread of Covid-19.

"To keep the wheels of the economy moving in Mumbai, the state disaster management has expressed its opinion in favour of allowing people who have taken both the doses of vaccine to board local trains. Some experts have also suggested increasing the timings of shops and other services beyond 4 pm (the current restriction time)," Tope said.

"It is a bit difficult to verify whether people travelling in local trains have actually received both the doses or not," he noted.

Minister Tope said a plan regarding the same can be worked out with the help of railway authorities.

"Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has invited suggestions and recommendations from various departments while reviewing the lockdown-like restrictions in the state," he said.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra, which is witnessing a decline in active coronavirus cases, recorded 6,857 infections on Wednesday.

There are 85,913 active Covid-19 cases in the state, as per the Union Health Ministry.

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