Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who on Friday visited the tribal-dominated Nandurbar district, admitted that lockdown was an option before the government amid rising Covid cases. But, he said, he had great expectations of complete cooperation from the people in combating the virus by following Covid norms.
In response to his call, said Thackeray, people were using masks but they also had to observe self-discipline to curtail the spread of the virus. He directed the administration to increase the pace of vaccination, especially in the rural areas.
Further, he said, a new virus strain had been detected in Maharashtra but its spread was contained. “However, it is yet to be ascertained whether the present rise in cases is due to the new strain,” he added.
Thackeray’s statement came on a day when for the second successive day, cases in the state crossed the 25,000-mark. On Friday, 25,681 new cases with 70 deaths were reported, while on the preceding day, the numbers were 25,833 cases and 58 respectively. Maharashtra continues to report the highest number of cases, nationwide.
Once again, the CM said the state government proposed to vaccinate 3 lakh people per day. He directed the administration to especially ensure that vaccination facilities were provided to citizens in remote areas. He also asked the administration to create awareness among citizens about masking and observing physical distancing even after the vaccination.
“Accelerate vaccination by addressing public concerns. Special care should be taken to ensure that the vaccination guidelines of the government are followed everywhere,” Thackeray said. He urged people to get vaccinated, saying there were no side effects.
He has urged the Centre to allow more centres, to expedite the immunisation drive. Of 367 centres, 209 are currently operational and the state government wants the remainder to join the drive, once the Centre gives its consent, he said. The CM has also directed the district collectors to complete the vaccination of beneficiaries in the next three to four months.
Currently, the vaccine is being administered to people 60 years of age and above, those who will turn 60 on January 1, 2022 and those who are 45-plus and above with co-morbidities or will attain that age by January 1, 2022.