Despite growing demands for allowing fully vaccinated citizens to travel by local trains, Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday said that general public won't be allowed to commute in Mumbai local trains due to the possibility of third wave of COVID-19.
However, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope while speaking to ANI about the issue said that the decision is on hold and several aspects have to be pondered upon before a call is taken.
"We are not saying no, but the decision for relaxation in local trains has been put on hold. Many aspects have to be considered before taking a call. CM will discuss it further" he said.
"Districts with high growth and positivity rates have been instructed to adhere to COVID behaviour. While in flood-affected areas, we've asked authorities for strict implementation of COVID protocols. If we stick to this, increase testing, numbers may come down" he told the agency.
He also said that strict surveillance in areas where Zika (cases) have been detected will ensure that the number of (Zika) cases doesn't spread further.
The Bombay High Court on Monday asked the Maharashtra government to frame a comprehensive plan to permit vaccinated people to travel by Mumbai local trains and questioned as to why all vaccinated could not be allowed to travel by train when everyone is allowed to travel by buses.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish Kulkarni, while hearing public interest litigation (PIL) Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa (BCMA), said: “There is an improvement since last time as people are vaccinated. Let them travel by train. What is the purpose of taking the vaccine and staying at home? Not just lawyers, but people from all walks of life (have to step out to work).”
The HC was hearing a bunch of PILs by BCMA, lawyers and private persons seeking that lawyers be permitted to travel by local trains and Metro rail to commute to courts and their offices.
Notably, local train services, which are also called the lifeline of Mumbai, are currently operational for just essential service employees due to the corona outbreak.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra on Monday reported 4,869 fresh COVID-19 cases and 90 fatalities, taking the tally of infections to 63,15,063 and the toll to 1,33,038 while 8,429 patients recovered, the state health department said.
With the new additions, the tally of recoveries in Maharashtra now stands at 61,03,325, leaving the state with 75,303 active cases with a recovery rate of 96.65 per cent. The case fatality rate is 2.1 per cent, it said.
Mumbai reported 259 new cases and nine deaths, which raised the overall case-load to 7,35,366 and the count of fatalities to 15,908, the department said in a statement.
Mumbai division reported 730 cases during the day and 15 deaths, taking the tally to 16,42,223 and the toll to 34,380.
Nashik division saw 829 new cases including 739 cases in the Ahmednagar district.
Pune division reported 1,574 cases during the day, including 621 in Satara, 413 in Solapur and 260 in Pune districts.
Kolhapur division added 1,399 fresh cases, including 359 from the Kolhapur district, to its tally.
Aurangabad division reported 49 cases, Latur division 255, including 166 in the Beed district, 26 in the Akola division and seven in the Nagpur division, the department said.
Akola, Hingoli, Nandurbar, Wardha, Bhandara, and Gondia districts did not report a single COVID-19 case on Monday.
With 1,67,117 new tests, the number of samples tested so far in Maharashtra rose to 4,83,52,467.
The COVID-19 figures in Maharashtra are: Positive cases 63,15,063, deaths 1,33,038, recoveries 61,03,325, total tests 4,83,52,467, active cases 75,303, tests today 1,67,117.
(With inputs from agencies)
(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)