Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray indicated on Sunday that further relaxation of lockdown restrictions would be taken cautiously to prevent a “second wave” of Covid-19 transmission across Mumbai and the state.
Speaking via video conferencing during the commissioning of an 800-bed dedicated Covid hospital in Pune on Sunday, Thackeray said the state government is preparing health infrastructure to fight in case there is a second wave of outbreak of the disease in the state.
“When we say we want to resume our lives normally, then crowding is inevitable. We are opening things gradually, but while doing so we are also ensuring that a second wave does not start,” he said.
There have been demands from various quarters, including from leaders within the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi, to allow gymnasiums and religious places to open up. But so far the state has not taken a call.
The Union home ministry has asked state governments to allow unrestricted movement of people and goods between states. The state, however, is yet to take a call in it.
Thackeray said that the next 10 days are crucial for the state’s battle against coronavirus. The state is anticipating a rise in Covid-19 cases with the increased movement of people during festivals, including Ganeshotsav and Muharram.
“The next phase is quite important for the state. The next eight-10 days are going to be crucial as Ganpati festival is on, Paryushan of the Jain community is going on, Muharram is also in a few days. Along with these festivals, there is monsoon, which brings diseases,” he said.
Maharashtra health department officials said that with opening up of restrictions in the state, they have seen an increase in fresh cases of Covid-19 and the trend is expected to continue.
The CM said though the situation in Mumbai is getting “under control” he cautioned the authorities against negligence to prevent a second wave of attack. Mumbai recorded 991 new infections on Sunday, taking the city’s tally to 136,353. It also recorded 34 fatalities, taking its toll to 7,422.
“A dedicated Covid facility is being commissioned in Pune, and two more will be added this week. People ask me do we require so many facilities? We cannot remain careless. Absolutely not. Today, the situation in Mumbai is in control, but I am not letting things rest. We are continuing with the tracing, tracking, testing, etc. Globally it is seen that after a wave, a second wave (of Covid-19) comes. We are striving so that no second wave comes, but if it comes, then what will we do? Earlier, we had a shortage of PPE kits, N95 masks, and ventilators,” the CM said in the speech at the event.
On Sunday, Maharashtra recorded 10,441 new Covid-19 cases, taking its tally to 682,383. The death toll crossed 22,000 with 258 fatalities on Sunday pushing the toll to 22,253.
The case fatality rate (CFR) in the state stood at 3.26%. With 8,157 people discharged on Sunday, the number of recoveries rose to 488,271. The state now has 171,542 active cases.