Despite opposition from the NCP and the Congress, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray instructed Saturday district collectors to impose a lockdown, without coming under any pressure, if they were sure that it would contain the spread of coronavirus.
“If you are sure that the lockdown will help to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, then take the decision firmly, but consider all the aspects.
Do not come under any pressure. All the agencies of the administration need to work hand-in-hand,” Thackeray said during a video-conference with district collectors and divisional commissioners. The CM also reviewed the Covid-19 situation in the state during the meet.
With 8,348 new Covid-19 cases, Maharashtra on Saturday crossed three lakh-mark to record a total of 3,00,937 cases. The state has 1,23,377 active cases.
Thackeray said guidelines would be issued by the state government from time to time and these should not be interpreted as per convenience. “Several municipal corporations have imposed lockdown in their respective areas, but this period should be used to trace patients and their contacts and provide treatment to reduce mortality rate significantly. Do not allow the infection to spread from urban areas to rural,” Thackeray said.
After the state government had extended the lockdown till July 31, the NCP and the Congress had expressed unhappiness that the district administrations had been given the power to impose lockdown again if required.
On Saturday, the chief minister said the ban on religious, social and political programmes had been retained. “While celebrating festivals, there should not be a rise in the number of containment zones. The ‘Dharavi model’ has been appreciated by the World Health Organization. The work was done in a transparent manner in Mumbai without hiding any information. Take the people in confidence and tell them about the fight in Dharavi so that we can have similar results across the state,” he added.
Considering the rise in the number of cases, Pradeep Vyas, Principal Secretary of the Public Health department, said the number of oxygen-equipped beds should be increased in cities such as Thane, Palghar, Raigad, Nashik and Jalgaon. Though there are more than 5,000 ventilators in the state, he said, only 540 patients are on the ventilator. Vyas added nodal testing officers would soon be appointed in each district and division.
BMC commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal, who also attended the meet, said there should be one unified Covid command centre for the Mumbai Metropolitan Region so that all the information about the facilities would be available at one place. “Like Mumbai, the revenue officials such as tehsildar and others should be tasked with the job to monitor the hospitals in other cities. They can keep a watch on the patients’ admissions, treatment cost and arrangement of ambulances. The Mission Save Human Life is showing results in Mumbai. The district collectors should make similar efforts,” Chahal added.
Ajoy Mehta, Principal Advisor to the chief minister, said village-level vigilance committees should also be roped in to prevent Covid-19 spread.
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