Despite growing demands for allowing fully vaccinated citizens to travel by local trains, the public health department of state said that it is not in favour of allowing people with two COVID-19 doses to commute in suburban trains amid the threat of the spread of infection due to Delta Plus Variant. The Task Force discussed the issue but no decision has been taken yet in the matter.
Earlier on Wednesday, Maharashtra Cabinet Minister Aslam Shaikh hinted that fully vaccinated passengers could be permitted to travel unrestricted in suburban train services within two to three days.
Speaking to the media, Shaikh said in the state cabinet meeting, a detailed discussion took place over the opening of Mumbai local train and Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) buses for fully vaccinated individuals.
"As a Minister, I am also of the view that person whose two doses are completed should be allowed to travel in Mumbai local, we have also informed Chief Minister about this. After studying the report by the task force, a decision on Mumbai local will be taken in next two to three days," said Shaikh, who is Guardian Minister of Mumbai.
Meanwhile, the Public Health Department at the Task Force meeting with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday proposed allowing opening of shops up to 8 pm against the present deadline of 4 pm in Mumbai and other cities where the weekly positivity rate and growth rate in patients are substantially low.
However, the department has made a strong case for the imposition of Level 4 or 5 restrictions in 9 districts where the weekly growth rate in patients is high compared to the state level weekly average of 0.11% and 10 districts where the weekly positivity rate is high compared to the state level weekly average of 3.8%
The Task Force headed by Dr Sanjay Oak strongly recommended for strict adherence of Covid Appropriate Behaviour in Maharashtra as the active Delta Plus Virus is still in circulation waiting for unexposed population. It hoped it can also be tackled by responsible behaviour and aggressive vaccination in the state.
A senior government officer told the Free Press Journal, ‘’The state government will soon issue notification extending the COVID 19 management norms up to August 31 on the lines of the Centre. The notification proposing relaxation in few curbs and tightening restrictions in districts with high positivity rate and high growth rate in patients will come into effect from August 1.’’
According to the public health department Sangli tops the list with high weekly growth rate of 0.44% in patients followed by Kolhapur (0.43%), Satara (0.38%), Sindhudurg (0.33%), Ratnagiri (0.30%), Ahmednagar (0.25%), Solapur (0.24%), Beed (0.20%) and Raigad (0.19%).
Further, the list of 10 districts with high positivity rate include Satara (8.03%), Pune (7.23%), Kolhapur (7.18%), Sangli (6.91%), Sindhudurg (6.49%), Solapur (5.90%), Ahmednagar (4.95%), Beed (4.88%), Raigad (4.70%) and Ratnagiri (3.83%).
(With inputs from agencies)
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