Mumbai: Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has hinted at the extension of the current lockdown beyond June 1, because of the rising number of mucormycosis cases, the shortage of vaccines and the ongoing preparations to face the third wave of Covid.
Thackeray, who visited the Cyclone Tauktae-hit Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts to review the damage and the pandemic situation there, said on Friday, although corona cases were falling, the present variant was more lethal and rapidly transmissible.
Thackeray said that even though the pandemic was under control, the government had learnt its lessons from the first wave. It had imposed lockdown with stringent curbs on April 22 till May 1 but had extended this to May 15 amid rising cases. Thereafter, it approved the extension of the lockdown with strict restrictions up to June 1.
“The last time, we had controlled the virus infection but after curbs were relaxed, cases rose sharply. Thus, now the priority is the safety and security of citizens,” he said, urging people not to be complacent.
The CM emphasised that the current form of the virus was very dangerous, spreading very fast and affecting people rapidly. “Realising that the situation is more delicate now than it was in the past, we need to be wise in view of our past experience when it comes to easing restrictions. We have to follow the rules of safety,” he noted.
Asked if the lockdown would be extended, he said, “Currently, the situation is under control and we will take a decision later, but no one should be complacent,” he added.
Thackeray’s statement came days after Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray said the government would go in for staggered relaxation in restrictions and the lifting of the lockdown would depend on the status of the virus infection. Thackeray’s indication is important, as Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope had said at the video conference chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday that mucormycosis or black fungus, which had so far claimed 90 lives of the 1,500 patients in the state, was a matter of deep concern and the state government needed more supply of the medicine used for its treatment.
Tope had said that Maharashtra faces a shortage of Amphotericin-B, a key medicine required to treat mucormycosis patients, and the state needed 1.50-2 lakh vials of that medicine, but had received only 16,000 from the Centre.
On Friday, the state reported 29,644 new Covid-19 positive cases, with 553 deaths and 44,493 being discharged. The fatality rate stands at 1.57 per cent and there are 36,7121 active cases.