No active cases of U.K strain of virus in Maharashtra: Tope

Govt. mulls relaxing timing of local trains for general public

Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Tuesday said that Maharashtra has at present no active cases of the U.K. strain of novel coronavirus.

“Initially, we found certain individuals infected with the U.K. strain of COVID-19. Those individuals were treated and put in strict institutional quarantine. Since then, no new infection of that strain has been found in the State, which is a very positive news,” he said.

Mr. Tope further said that over five lakh health and frontline workers in Maharashtra had received the jab in the first two phases of the vaccination programme.

“The State is moving ahead as per the directions from the Central government. A total of 652 centres are currently operational for the vaccination drive. Around 40,000-45,000 people are being vaccinated daily in the State,” the minister said after chairing a review meeting of the Health Department.

Of the 10.54 lakh health workers, who have registered on the Co-Win portal, 4,68,293 have been vaccinated while of the 5.47 lakh registered frontline workers, 41,453 have been administered the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We have not yet received guidelines from the Central government regarding the third phase of the programme when individuals above 50 years of age and those below 50 years with co-morbidities will be vaccinated. We hope that their registrations will start on March 1,” Mr. Tope said.

The possibility of increasing train services and the time limit for the general public to travel was also discussed at the review meeting.

“Yes, we have received several complaints and suggestions seeking a change in the train timetable. We discussed the issue and will be making a presentation in front of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray at the State Cabinet meeting on Wednesday,” Mr. Tope said, adding that based on directions of the CM, a decision would be taken.

The Maharashtra government has allowed the train services in Mumbai for the general public in select hours from February 1. The general public can travel from the time of start of services till 7 a.m., from 12 noon to 4 p.m., and from 9 p.m. till the closure of services for the day. As a result, reports of overcrowding are coming in leading to complaints with the Health Department of passengers not being able to follow social distancing norms.

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