Maharashtra Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope, on Saturday, said the government is working on a slew of measures to contain COVID-19 and bring down the mortality rate, which has surged to 4.57 per cent at the state level and 5.79 per cent in Mumbai. His message to the citizens, meanwhile, is to not fear the virus, but take all the necessary care by following an SMS formula –social distancing, mask and sanitiser– to avoid contracting it.
“We will have to change the lifestyle and learn about the pandemic and how it can be curbed. We will also have to learn how to co-exist with COVID-19,’’ said Tope, who took the review of present status of the virus in Solapur district. He admitted that the coronavirus pandemic is a major crisis, but there is no need to panic.
Tope appealed to the people not to hide the symptoms of cough, cold or fever and immediately approach the doctor for further treatment. “There are several cases in which an octogenarian and children below five years recovered from COVID-19 and were discharged,” he said.
Tope’s argument was upheld by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, who emphasised the need to wear a mask, following hygiene norms, and ensure social distance is maintained. “The government expects the citizens to support by strictly adhering to these norms and not take them lightly. The government is resolved to come out of the present crisis and restore normalcy in the state,’’ he noted.
Tope expressed serious displeasure over some people who preferred to go in for self-medication instead of rushing to the doctors. “The risk is more when the oxygen level dips. So do not hide the symptoms, but go to the doctors for an early treatment,’’ he reiterated.
The public health minister said the government has already announced that COVID-19 patients will be treated free of cost in the hospitals shortlisted under the state insurance scheme titled Mahatma Phule Jan Arogya Yojana. From March till June 26, nearly 9,000 patients benefitted.
Meanwhile, Tope announced that the police personnel, who died because of the virus, will be awarded with a special medal.