Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday announced the extension of the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown till June 15. All essential shops which are now allowed to function from 7 am to 11 am, will be permitted to remain open till 2 pm from June 1 onwards in districts and municipalities where the positivity rate is less than 10%, a government order said.
In his address, Uddhav Thackeray lauded the citizens and the administration as the recovery rate in the state has increased and the death rate has decreased significantly. However, the Chief Minister noted that the cases are rising in the rural areas, which is a cause of concern. He added that the virus has mutated and is more lethal, fast-spreading and also it is now taking time for the patinets to recover. Thackreay also noted that the cases of mucormycosis (black fungus), a post-COVID symptom, are also rising in the state. He said the government has roped in experts for its treatment.
Speaking about a possible third COVID-19 wave, Thackeray said it is predicted that children are likely to be severely infected. He said the government has formed a task force of pediatricians to suggest treatment protocol for children. He added that the ongoing Majha Doctor (My Doctor) campaign--family doctors guiding citizens to curb spread of virus--is receiving an overwhelming response.
Thackeray further said the government has so far distributed 2.74 MT food grains and over 55 lakh plates under Shivbhojan thali. Rs 850.28 cr has been deposited in bank accounts of beneficiaries under various schemes, 10 lakh registered construction workers have received Rs 155 crore, over 3 lakh street vendors have got Rs 52.05 cr, 7.20 lakh auto-rickshaw drivers have got Rs 1500, said the Chief Minister.
Thackeray assured that to ramp up the COVID-19 vaccination drive after additional doses are received in June. Vaccination centers will remain open 24x7 once the state will have enough stock of vaccines, he said.
Welfare scheme for children orphaned by COVID-19:
Thackeray said the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) will soon come with a welfare scheme for children orphaned due to COVID-19.
Class 12th board exams:
Thackeray said the government has already announced the assessment policy for Class 10th students, and will soon decide on conducting the Class 12 board exams. Noting that Class 12th exams are of utmost importance for the careers of students, Thackeray urged the Centre to come up with a national-level common policy for the same.
Thackeray said the parameters of NDRF (National Disaster Response Force), which is used to provide relief aid, needs to be revised.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra on Sunday witnessed less than 20,000 new COVID-19 cases after nearly three months. The state recorded 18,600 new cases, taking the total number of active cases to 2,71,801. Besides, 402 COVID-19 deaths were reported in the day, taking the number of total fatalities to 94,844. 22,532 patients were discharged in the day, taking the tally to 53,62,370. The recovery rate in the state rose to 93.55%. The case fatality rate in the state is 1.65%. Currently, 19,98,976 people are in home quarantine and 12,981 people are in institutional quarantine.
(This is a developing story)
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