Mumbai: Even as the second wave of COVID-19 is yet to recede, Maharashtra is likely to be hit by a third wave of the novel virus by July and August.
Maharashtra may witness a third wave of infections by July or August, PTI quoted Health Minister Rajesh Tope as saying on Thursday. The Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray held a meeting of divisional commissioners and district collectors to take stock of the COVID-19 situation on Thursday.
“Maharashtra is trying to be self-sufficient in terms of availability of medical oxygen,” he said. He also informed that the state was trying to install 125 Pressure Swing Adsorption plants for creating medical oxygen and arrange for oxygen concentrators. The state government would also give medical equipment such as CT scan and MRI machines to districts where these facilities are not available, he further explained.
“Crunches of medical oxygen should not happen in future, we have informed all officials. Huge oxygen plants are being set up,” he said following a review meeting. Collectors were told not to complain about oxygen shortages when the next wave hits the state, he informed.
According to the official statement, the chief minister also stated that there should be a registry of migrant labourers and when they return from their home states, they should be tested and quarantined if required.
Maharashtra on Thursday registered 66,159 daily cases pushing the tally to 4,539,553. The total of active cases gone down to 670,301 as 68,537 recoveries recorded in the past 24 hours. The state also saw 771 deaths, taking the toll to 67,985. Pune had 130, highest number of fatalities across the state, with 94 fatalities in the city and 36 from its rural areas.
Meanwhile, CM Uddhav Thackeray will address the state on Friday. It is interesting to see what plan of action state has to tackle the crisis.
FREE VACCINE JABS FOR 18-44 AGE GROUP
In a significant decision, the Maharashtra government on Thursday decided to vaccinate all citizens in the 18-44 age group but postponed the vaccination drive from May 1 due to the acute shortage of supplies of the jabs.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray declared the move on Thursday after a state cabinet meeting decided to earmark a sum of Rs 6,500 crore for the determined plan.
The cabinet also reviewed in detail the COVID-19 situation in the state, the current vaccination drive, lockdown extension measures and other issues, said Tope while talking to media persons. "We don't have sufficient stocks of the vaccine now. We want to avoid a demand-supply gap so we will not begin the inoculation for 18-44 age group from May 1. We will start it as soon as enough stocks are created," Tope informed.
The state has an estimated 5.71 crore people in the 18-44 age group and needs nearly 12 crore vaccines over the next six months. The Health Minister said the vaccine would be administered free in government hospitals and will be chargeable in private hospitals.