Sharp surge in COVID-19 cases worrisome: Uddhav Thackeray

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in an address to the people of the State on Sunday said the surge in COVID-19 cases was worrisome and the government would know within 15 days if Maharashtra was facing a second wave of the pandemic.

“Today, the State has reported nearly 7,000 cases as opposed to 15 days ago, when it was reporting just 2,000-2,500 cases daily. The State’s active case tally, which had dipped below 40,000 a week ago, has now soared to 53,000. In this week, Mumbai’s cases have doubled, so has the numbers in Pune district. This is a very bad situation. I am especially worried that the sudden rise of cases in Amravati district in Vidarbha has begun from the district’s peak that it had attained last year,” Mr. Thackeray said.

State to curb gatherings

The Chief Minister said all social and political activities across the State would be curtailed for the next few days in wake of the situation.

“While I understand that every political party is interested in party-building activities, we should not contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in this process. The public must also remember that the cases had come down only due to their self-discipline and the martyrdom of frontline warriors. While we congratulate such frontline warriors, one must remember that if one is not such a warrior, then at least they must try not be a carrier. That will be akin to insulting these personnel who have laid down their lives in combating the pandemic,” Mr. Thackeray said.

The Chief Minister also warned that the administration would take strict punitive action against citizens and businesses not adhering to State guidelines. He stressed on the need to maintain self-discipline and be socially responsible and reiterated that it was entirely up to the public whether or not they wanted a lockdown. “I’m asking this question again? Do you’ll want a lockdown? I will observe for the next fortnight and I’ll get the answer. Those who do not want a lockdown are sure to adhere to all regulations, those who seek it, will violate them just as surely,” Mr. Thackeray said. He exhorted the public to behave responsibly by wearing masks and participating in the State’s Mi Jababdar (I am responsible) awareness campaign.

Stating that there was an ongoing ‘World War’ against coronavirus at the moment, the Chief Minister reiterated that the face mask was the only shield in this war. “If we do not wear it, then the hidden enemy will attack us. Hence, even after vaccination, one must mandatorily wear masks. Regrettably, the public had let off their guard in the past few days once the cases dropped and several people stopped wearing masks under the delusion that the pandemic has altogether disappeared. Even in western countries, a relaxation and dropping of guard has resulted in a dangerous spike and a subsequent lockdown,” he said.

Stating that a lockdown may or may not be the solution, He said the measures against the pandemic showed that it could at least help break the chain of transmission of the virus. “While there is a lockdown across the State on paper, we have thrown all businesses open, started local trains. Unfortunately, in a bid to give some economic impetus, people were not vigilant. Just because we don’t like restrictions, does not mean that the pandemic will loosen its grip on us,” he said.

Mr. Thackeray said citizens in the afflicted districts would now have to follow restrictions from Monday onwards. “I have directed officials to put restrictions in place in districts in Vidarbha and take necessary precautions in the worst-hit areas according to their judgement,” he said.

Remarking that the inoculation drive was progressing apace and no serious side effects were recorded till date, Mr. Thackeray urged those health workers who had not yet taken the vaccine dose to not hesitate and to get themselves inoculated as soon as possible.

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