Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray asked the district administration in the Konkan region to up its vigil, as a few lakh residents of Mumbai are expected to return to their villages, especially in Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg, for the upcoming Ganesh festival.
Thackeray said that although the number of coronavirus cases may be more in urban areas, they had started to manifest in villages as well, and are on the rise in Raigad district, which is close to Mumbai. Comparatively, he added, the virus had not spread widely in Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg. However, with a large number of people traveling in and out of Konkan during the popular festival, he directed the district administration in all three districts to be alert.
Thackeray, in a meeting held with the district collectors of Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg on Friday, said leading Ganesh mandals in Mumbai have unanimously decided to observe certain rules during Ganeshotsav this year, and that guidelines for the same have been issued by the home department. He said it was important for Ganesh mandals in Konkan to follow suit. He asked the district administration to stay alert at their check posts and ensure sufficient police deployment and availability of health workers during this time.
Raigad District Collector Nidhi Chaudhari informed the Chief Minister that while 3,500 persons were being treated for Covid-19 in the district, 1,900 were under home quarantine. She also said that by August 15, a testing laboratory for the district will be started, which is expected to augment the district’s testing capacity from 1,000-1,200 tests a day to about 3,000.
Thackeray was also told that working committees had been set up at the village and town levels in Ratnagiri, where 665 patients were being treated for Covid-19. Of the three districts, Sindhudurg has the lowest burden, with 270 cases, of which 27 were under treatment. However, the district expects about 1.5 lakh arrivals from Mumbai ahead of the Ganesh festival, and has already put check posts in place, Sindhudurg collector K Manjulekshmi, informed the Chief Minister.
Thackeray also asked district authorities in Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg to increase the number of isolation beds and ambulances ahead of the festival next month. “Health facilities such as isolation beds and ambulances should be increased, and have to be ready before the Ganesh festival,” he said.