Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Thursday said the government will not announce lockdown in the state from April 2 as rumoured and reported in a section of media. Instead, the government will introduce strict measures to curb the virus infection.
Tope’s statement came on a day when a record 43,183 new COVID 19 positive cases, including 8,646 in Mumbai, were reported in the state. The recovery rate has dipped to 85.2% while the fatality rate is 1.92%.
Tope, who has been in constant touch with the health department officers to review the bed availability, vaccination and tracing, tracking and testing, said, ''At least for now, the government will not impose a fresh lockdown but will announce strict and stringent measures to contain the virus transmission. People will have to observe COVID 19 norms, including face mask, public distancing and avoid crowding,’’ he noted.
Tope reminded his gathering that Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, at an emergency meeting held early this week, clearly said lockdown will be the last option which the government would explore. He said it was also discussed which sectors will be hit the most following the imposition of lockdown. '‘Lockdown will not be announced on April 2 but the government will issue guidelines on strict measures,’’ he added.
Tope clarified that there is no bed shortage in Mumbai, except in one or two hospitals. He said the government is aggressively carrying out thee vaccination drive, especially to target those above 45 years of age. ''I have appealed to party leaders to organize vaccination for those eligible by taking youth into confidence,’’ he added.
Meanwhile, the Central Railway Chief PRO Shivaji Sutar said ''There is no discussion/communication yet from the state about permitting only essential staff in local trains. Will keep you updated.’’
Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on the first day of the fourth phase of the nationwide immunisation drive, three lakh people above 45 years of age were vaccinated in 3,295 centres. People aged 45 and above were eligible for vaccination starting April 1. Since the launch of the vaccination drive from January 16, Maharashtra has been at the forefront of states, having vaccinated 6.5 million people so far.