Maha CM Uddhav Thackeray
Maha CM Uddhav Thackeray

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has convened a meeting of political parties to ascertain their views on the imposition of a complete lockdown in Maharashtra as the COVID 19 cases continue to rise sharply despite the introduction of ‘Break the Chain’ restrictions.

The meeting will be held today at 5 pm through video conferencing.

Thackeray’s move comes after Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Friday said that if the COVID 19 cases continue to surge, then the state is heading towards a lockdown.

His grim prognosis is that the COVID 19 cases will soon mount to 11 lakhs in the state. On the other hand, Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Vijay Wadettiewar made a strong case for the re-imposition of lockdown for three weeks. He also insisted that curbs on railway services need to be imposed in a bid to control the crowding.

"We are heading towards a lockdown, but I hope that we don't have to go in for one. Before that, if we contain the virus, we will be happy, satisfied and content. We are hoping for the best," said Tope.

The minister said he was not in favour of a lockdown. "But when hospitals are fully occupied, we have a dearth of doctors, there is a shortage of medicines and we are not able to cope with daily numbers; at that time, the thumb the rule is that we should impose a lockdown immediately, so we can ramp up our capacities and can prepare for the situation."

He noted the purpose of a lockdown is to break the chain. ‘‘Worldwide it is seen that a lockdown of at least 15 days to three weeks is a must and should be adhered to strictly." Tope has already hinted that if cases continue to surge, the health infrastructure would be stretched to its limits.

On Thursday, he had attacked the Centre for the inadequate vaccine stock and the demand-supply mismatch. The minister drew attention to the fact that Mumbai has a 1.5 crore population and out of the 120 vaccine centres, 70 have downed shutters, which is an embarrassing situation.

Wadettiwar said despite additional measures being taken to contain the transmission, the state government is bound to face severe health infrastructure constraints, including the shortage of doctors, nurses, paramedics. ‘‘Therefore, I will request the Chief Minister for the imposition of lockdown for three weeks and not just on Saturday and Sunday,’’ he noted. Wadettiwar said he has not made a demand as a Congress minister but as the minister in charge of the relief and rehabilitation. ‘’The situation is really alarming,’’ he added.

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