Mumbai: State to seek ICMR’s view on relaxation of curbs, says Rajesh Tope

Level 3 restrictions are in place due to the ongoing second wave of Covid-19 and the possibility of a third wave, Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope said. He, however, made a strong case to ease the curbs in order to increase the pace of the vaccination drive in the state. “The state government has been following the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) norms and conducted the sero survey. We will seek ICMR’s suggestions on how we can relax the curbs. The state has a potential to complete 100% vaccination in two months. For this, the central government should ramp up the supply of doses,” he said.

Tope reiterated that the government has not taken any decision on allowing citizens, who have received both the vaccine doses, to commute in suburban trains. The decision will be taken by the chief minister and the Task Force. “There is a demand that those who have taken both the doses of the vaccine should be allowed to travel in trains and other restrictions should be lifted. Discussions are underway at the state government level as well. The situation is different in the case of allowing the general public to commute in suburban trains. Is it possible to stop each passenger and check their vaccination certificate? Do the railways have that much manpower? These questions need to be answered,” said Tope.

However, Tope admitted that there has been demand for a relaxation in curbs for those who have received both the vaccine shots. “Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and the Task Force on Covid-19 will take a decision in this regard,” he said. On the experts’ projection on the possibility of a third wave between July and September, Tope said, “Whether or not the third wave strikes, the people will have to follow the norms. The third wave can be stopped if the necessary precautions are taken.”

Tope made a strong case for the availability of more vaccine doses from the Centre. However, they are now in short supply. ‘’If 60 to 70 percent are vaccinated, collective immunity will be created,’’ he noted.

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