Despite imposition of 'Janata Curfew' from April 14, the COVID-19 cases and deaths are increasing unabated in Maharashtra. The state government, in a bid to further control the crowding of the people, plans to curtail the timings of the grocery shops to just four hours from 7 am to 11 am. In Jalna, which is Tope’s home district, the administration has already reduced the timings of the essential commodities shops amid rising COVID-19 cases. Besides, in Thane and in Mumbai suburbs including Bhandup and Powai the timings have already been curtailed.
‘’The government may take a decision to reduce the timings of the grocery shops as the number of COVID-19 patients do not appear to be declining despite the imposition of new restrictions. Police have been instructed to tighten the restrictions. If the virus chain needs to be broken the implementation of these curbs should be done more strictly,’’ said Tope. He added that the district administration has been asked to take decisions in the respective districts about curtailment of timings of grocery and other essential goods shops.
‘’It was also discussed that the communication with district collectors especially from remote areas cannot take place daily due to connectivity issues. Therefore, it was suggested that the secretaries in-charge of districts should play a proactive role in the implementation of COVID-19 containment measures,’’ noted Tope.
As far as the oxygen supply is concerned, Tope said that the state is receiving 1,500 metric tonnes daily which will increase by another 300 MT to 1,800 MT as per the Centre’s assurance. ‘’However, if there will be any disruption in the oxygen availability then the state may face a major problem to meet the rising demand. The state is procuring oxygen from Bhilai, Bellari and Vikhakhapattanam. In the wake of rising COVID 19 cases, the district collectors have been directed to install units for the production of oxygen directly from the air,’’ he added.
Tope said the hospitals have been asked to procure oxygen concentrators. Further, he added the Centre has approved the setting up of new plants for the production of Remdesivir which is currently in short supply in the state.