Mumbai: Amid the rising number of coronavirus cases and mortality rate, the Maharashtra government has decided not to entirely lift the lockdown after June 30.
But, at the same time, it has assured that under 'Mission Begin Again', more relaxations will be announced to further revive the economy. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, in his web address on Sunday, urged people to not venture outside, unless it was absolutely essential.
‘‘Will the lockdown be lifted after June 30? The clear answer is no," Thackeray tweeted later. He further said, ‘‘We must step carefully. We will have to use masks, keep up with handwashing and sanitising, as this is for our individual and collective benefit.’’
‘‘While we are providing relaxations, it doesn't mean that the Covid-19 crisis is over," he said. "Don't think that the lockdown restrictions will cease after June 30.The threat of Covid-19 still looms over the state and all precautions need to be taken," Thackeray said. His announcement came on the third successive day of 5,000-plus new cases being recorded in the state; there were 5,493 cases with 156 deaths.
Thackeray explained that the state government was keen on further opening up economic activities and restoring normalcy. ‘‘Small shops and businesses in rural parts of the state have started functioning, but the pandemic still looms over our heads. Just because we are slowly starting the economy doesn’t mean the danger is averted. I request you to please step out only if you have necessary work,’’ he noted.
The CM hinted that the relaxations would be offered on a case-by-case basis. Passenger transportation will continue to have some restrictions but some local services will be resumed or allowed to function.
''Even if I am not using the term lockdown, do not misunderstand and lower your guard. In fact, we need to show more stringent discipline. Take care of senior citizens and children and leave home only if necessary. Even youth must be careful,’’ said the chief minister. He informed, ‘‘We are focusing on restarting education, as this is more important than reopening schools.’’
Appeal for plasma donation
Plasma therapy to treat Covid-19 had yielded positive results in the state, he informed. Maharashtra was likely to apply for plasma therapy centres. ‘‘I request those who were cured of corona to come forward and donate their plasma, as it contains antibodies which could help cure those fighting the disease,’’ he noted.
As far as the use of drugs to treat Covid 19 patients was concerned, Thackeray said the state was far ahead, even by global standards. ‘‘We have received approval from the Central government to use Remdesivir, Favipiravir for treatment. We are using all kinds of Central government-approved medication to fight the virus. The other day, I heard on the BBC that dexamethasone is being used in treatment. It has already been used in the state,’’ he added.
Stern action against bogus seed suppliers
The CM warned that the state government would take stern action against the suppliers of bogus seeds to farmers being forced to repeat sowing. ‘‘There are cases of people with nefarious intentions duping farmers with bogus seeds. I promise you we will find and punish those who have cheated our farmers,’’ he announced.
He said the state government was committed to waive farm loans in those areas where it did not happen due to the code of conduct. ‘‘The government will stick to its promise to waive farmers' loans,’’ he noted. The government is expected to deposit Rs 8 lakh crore in the loan accounts of 11 lakh farmers covered under the crop loan waiver scheme.