Maharashtra Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope, on Tuesday, said if the COVID-19 cases do not come down, the government will have to impose lockdown. There has been tremendous pressure on the health infrastructure due to rise in cases. He urged people to wear masks and keep a safe distance in public places.
He added that lockdown will be the last option. “If the number of cases rise unabated and add to the burden on the health infrastructure, the state government will have to impose a lockdown,” said Tope. His statement came two days after Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, at an emergency meeting held on Sunday, asked the relief and rehabilitation secretary to prepare SOPs for the imposition of a limited lockdown.
The public health minister admitted that political parties and other organisations have opposed a fresh lockdown. “A lockdown was not wanted, neither was it loved. It has major economic repercussions,” he said. He clarified that there was no rift amongst the ruling partners on whether a lockdown should be imposed.
Tope referred to the daily cases being reported in the state and said it has put pressure on the availability of beds for patients. “Of these cases, 85% are asymptomatic. However, some are occupying oxygen beds and ICU beds. The availability of beds is being streamlined. Despite this, if cases continue to rise, then a lockdown will be announced,” he noted.
Tope said the state government does not want the unorganized workers and small units to suffer due to the lockdown. The minister asserted that a decision on the lockdown will not be taken suddenly, but after keeping all stakeholders in the loop and a thorough discussion in the cabinet.