Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday addressed the state and said that the government's decision to impose lockdown-like restrictions has proved to be beneficial. "We have been able to contain the spread of COVID-19 due to restrictions. Our estimate was that there might be 10 lakh active patients, but now the cases are stable at around 6 to 6.5 lakh," Thackeray said.
Thackeray listed out various measures taken by the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government to contain the spread of the pandemic and to increase the facilities in the state. "There were 2 testing labs in June 2020, now there are 609. There were 2,665 COVID Centres, now there are 5,595. There were 3,36,384 hospital beds, now there are 4,31,902. There were 42,813 oxygen beds, now there are 86,108. There were 11,882 ICU beds, now there are 28,937. There were 3,744 ventilators, now there are 11,713," noted Thackeray.
The Chief Minister added that the oxygen production capacity of the state is 1,200 metric tonnes daily. However, due to the surge in cases, 1,700 metric tonnes is the daily requirement. This requirement is being fulfilled by procuring oxygen from other states, Thackeray said. He said that the state is looking to set up COVID Centres at places where oxygen is produced but cannot be transported. They have identified six such places across the state at Pen, Thal, Wardha, Khaparkheda, Paras, and Parli, he noted. Thackeray further said that the state is planning to set up 275 Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) oxygen plants in addition to the 10 sanctioned by the Centre.
Speaking about the use of anti-viral drug Remdesivir, Thackeray said that the state requires 50,000 injections daily. However, they are able to procure around 35,000 per day. Citing reports from World Health Organisation (WHO), Union Health Ministry and doctors from Maharashtra COVID Task Force, the Chief Minister said that Remdesivir must be used carefully. "Do not use Remdesivir when it is not needed as there can be side effects," he said. Asserting that the state is ramping up efforts, Uddhav said that the government is ready to tackle the third COVID-19 wave.
Thackeray also said that the government is capable enough to vaccinate its citizens by issuing a single cheque to buy the vaccines. "There are nearly 6 crore people in age group 18-44, which means we need 12 crore doses, whatever is the price, we can purchase even now by issuing one single cheque," he said. Urging the people to not crowd at the vaccination centres, Uddhav said that in the coming month around 18 lakh vaccine doses are expected. "We are planning to cover the age group 18-44 as and when vaccine stocks arrives," he said. Uddhav also urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to allow states to develop their own apps for vaccinations and connect with CoWIN app as there were reports of its crashing on Thursday.