Maharashtra: Tope rules out fresh statewide lockdown

Despite rising Covid-19 cases in Maharashtra, the health minister Rajesh Tope on Monday said there will not be a fresh statewide lockdown but where the cases are surging rapidly in those districts it will be announced. In addition, he said strict curbs will be put in place especially to avoid crowding and thereby control the virus infection in the state. Apart from stepping up tracking, testing, and treatment, the district collectors are imposing restrictions to avoid gathering at weddings and other social events.

"Lockdown is not an option to curb increasing Covid-19 cases but the state government will impose stringent restrictions. Even though cases are surging, the fatality rate is low. The government has urged the citizens to follow Covid-19 norms and extend their cooperation in the fight against the spread of the virus and its infection,’’ said Tope. His announcement is crucial as lockdown or curfew or additional curbs have been announced in Nagpur, Amravati, Jalgaon, Nashik, Pune, Buldhana, Dhule, and Jalgaon districts.

The minister informed that 85 per cent of those infected by Covid-19 have no symptoms and therefore they have been advised for home isolation. He added that there has been no shortage of beds and the government has also increased daily testing.

‘’People should use face masks, wash hands regularly, and maintain adequate public distancing which will help control cases. To avoid lockdown, the citizens should strictly follow COVID 19 protocol,’’ he noted.

Tope said nearly 1.25 lakh eligible citizens are vaccinated daily in the state adding that there is no shortage of vaccines. He informed that 20 people in Mumbai alone have been fined for not following COVID 19 norms.

Tope’s announcement is important as the key health department officers had observed that lockdown is not the right strategy at this point in juncture especially because there are very large social and economic side effects of a lockdown which can lead to bigger problems than the virus itself. The officers have made a strong case for further strengthening surveillance which includes aggressive contact tracing, screening of symptoms, and monitoring of people who are in home isolation.

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Free Press Journal