Mumbai: In his address to the state, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said that there will be not a complete lockdown but stricter guidelines will be enforced from Wednesday. The decision come after Maharashtra, the badly-hit state in the country is witnessing a spurt in the spread of COVID-19 cases.
WHAT ARE THE NEW GUIDELINES?
· Section 144 will be imposed in Maharashtra for next 15 days.
· Unnecessary travel will not be allowed.
· All establishments, public places will remain closed except essential services.
· Shops of essential services will function from 7 am to 8 pm every day.
· Local services will not be suspended but only for essential service.
· Public transport to be available for only those involved in essential services.
In his address to the state, he said, “From the past two months, cases are rising in the state. The situation is going from bad to worse. The state has started a war against COVID-19. The health infrastructure has been burdened. We are trying to get all facilities in state. We are producing 1200 MT in the state and as of today we are already using 950-1000 MT. There is a shortage of beds, medicines in the state. We are already increasing the testing in the state. Over 500 testing labs are operating at present in Maharashtra.”
“We have requested the Centre to provide the oxygen supply to Maharashtra as the state is already using huge oxygen supply. The Centre has decided to provide oxygen from North-Eastern states but transport is the major concern. We cannot afford to get oxygen supply from other states that are over 1,000 km away by road. We need the regular supply, thus we have requested Centre to help us via Air Force,” he added.
CM Uddhav Thackeray also demanded relaxation in GST. He requested PM Narendra Modi to think about small businesses.
Maharashtra CM Thackeray chaired a meeting on Sunday with state's task force to discuss the improvement of medical facilities and best use of available medical infrastructure. CM Thackeray also asked the state’s administrative machinery to increase medical facilities urgently after stricter rules are enforced in the state.
On Saturday, along with CM Thackeray, Deputy CM Ajit Pawar, Health Minister Rajesh Tope, Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil, Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat, Congress leader Ashok Chavan, Maharashtra Congress President Nana Patole, Urban development Minister Eknath Shinde, LoP Legislative Assembly Devendra Fadnavis, LoP Legislative Council Pravin Darekar, Maharashtra BJP president Chandrakant Patil, Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte, Health Secretary Pradeep Vyas, among others were present in the meeting. The meeting held on Saturday remained inconclusive.
Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Monday said, “Length of the lockdown and how to handle its economic result was discussed during the meeting. The task force is of the view that the dominant COVID-19 in the state is such that a lockdown is required.” He also said that the state was also planning to set up an oxygen plant considering the failing COVID situation.
On the positive front, Maharashtra has administered COVID-19 vaccine doses to over one crore people so far (till Sunday). The mega vaccination drive started on January 16 around India and is currently underway for front-line and health care workers, and people aged 45 years and above.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, 60,212 new cases were reported in Maharashtra.