No more lockdown but physical distancing to be strictly followed: Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope

No more lockdown but physical distancing to be strictly followed: Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope

Pune: On Friday, public health minister of Maharashtra Rajesh Tope confirmed that the lockdown will not be extended further, with no lifting of restrictions planned till now. However, until the deadly virus is brought under control and the world becomes a safe place to live in, the citizens are required to strictly follow physical distancing measures and other Safety Management Services (SMS) like using masks and hand sanitizers to combat the spread of the deadly virus.

A review meeting headed by National Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar was held at the Council Hall in Pune, to analyze the feedback and reaction related to the COVID-19 infection. Tope expressed his views related to the disease while he came to the city for the meeting.

While interacting with the media at the Baramati Hostel in Gokhale Nagar, Tope spoke about the SMS protocols that the public needs to strictly follow even in the post-lockdown situation since the state is witnessing a surge in the number of positive cases and fatality rates. 

The minister was quoted saying, "The number is expected to rise in July and August, but the focus is to control the deaths and officials are succeeding in that. There was a problem in the reconciliation of COVID-19 figures and the state is not the number of cases and deaths like other states."

He also mentioned that Maharashtra will be able to handle the positive cases as of now since there is proper availability of beds, ventilators and doctors but the situation might worsen in August. There is likely to be a dearth of beds and medical staff to control the rising number of cases.

"The state has passed a resolution in the state cabinet to avail the service of post-graduate doctors in the intensive care units (ICU) of hospitals. Through our party leader, Sharad Pawar, we are going to request the Medical Council of India (MCI) to cancel the exams of the state medical students that will help us an additional workforce or around 50,000 doctors," he added.

The guidelines and treatment rules set by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is being rigorously followed by the state government, and in view of the further rise in cases in the coming days, the state is mainly concentrating on the adequate availability of anti-viral drugs and medicines in all the districts in Pune. He said that the latest testing policies for COVID-19 with improved versions will be initiated for early detection and treatment of the disease among patients.

The state has recorded the highest number of COVID-19 tests conducted in the nation. Tope was quoted saying, "To accommodate the rise in the number of cases we are taking over 80 per cent of beds in private hospitals across the state. Arrangements to have enough ventilators are being undertaken. Along with this, we are making sure the patients are not overcharged during treatment and also get benefits of the health schemes of the state."

There have been various reports of doctors and professors in public medical colleges received by the minister which said that they denied treatment to COVID-19 patients. Some medical professionals did not even bother to enter the COVID-19 wards to check patients despite being paid a hefty salary.

"Such professors will face action and they won't be spared in such a situation, it is inhuman of them to act this way. The ones who have an only genuine reason, like being too old or having health issues, will be spared," he added.

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