Updated on: Thursday, November 26, 2020, 11:35 PM IST

Not in favour of fresh lockdown: Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar

No lockdown, but a crackdown on crowding, announces Health Minister

Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, on Thursday, strongly asserted that he was not in favour of the imposition of a fresh lockdown, citing that farmers and the working class have already been hit hard since the last nine months because of the present coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent lockdown. “Farmers are reeling under heavy financial stress. The lockdown has also heavily impacted the working class. When the central and state governments announced lockdown, everyone complied with it. So, we should not talk about a fresh lockdown,’’ he said after performing a customary puja on the occasion of Kartiki Ekadashi at Pandharpur.

However, Pawar has called upon citizens to take care and observe self-discipline in a serious bid to avoid a spurt in COVID-19 cases. He admitted that the virus has posed a serious challenge across the globe, but said that the state government has been effectively combating the pandemic. “The case count had drastically fallen in the state, but again there has been a surge, which is a matter of serious concern. Therefore, each of us will have to strictly follow the COVID-19 norms to curb its spread. I want to sincerely thank the Warkari community for responding to the state government’s appeal positively by avoiding crowding at Pandharpur,’’ said Pawar.

As reported by the Free Press Journal, Pawar had four days ago said that the state government was conducting a district-wise review of the situation amidst rising coronavirus cases especially after Diwali. He further stated that the government would later take a decision in the next 8 to 10 days on the imposition of further curbs or a fresh lockdown.

On the other hand, Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope also said there won’t be a fresh lockdown, but a crackdown on people moving in the public places without any care or without wearing a mask. The government proposes to introduce restrictions on crowding to avoid spurt in cases. He warned the people to comply with COVID-19 protocols or face action for violation. “Goa, Kerala, Gujarat and Delhi have witnessed a stiff hike in cases compared to Maharashtra. The virus still exists. The government has swung into action and increased the corona tests in the state,’’ said Tope. He further noted, “Despite a surge in cases post Diwali, the people are not taking adequate precautions. If people do not listen to the government’s appeal, some restrictions will be imposed in phases.’’

Tope said the government was actively considering putting restrictions on the movement of people at night and also to avoid crowding in public markets.

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Published on: Thursday, November 26, 2020, 11:35 PM IST