June 29, 2020 1:24:18 am
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray Sunday ruled out lifting lockdown curbs completely beyond June 30, but said more relaxations will be offered to the people eventually. The threat from the coronavirus disease, Thackeray said, continued to loom over the state.
Since June 3, when the state government gradually eased restrictions under the ‘Mission Begin Again’, the number of Covid-19 cases in the state has increased from 74,860 to 1,64,626. On Sunday, the state recorded 5,493 fresh cases.
“The lockdown will not be lifted after June 30, but some relaxations will be granted. In the last two weeks, we have granted some relaxations, such as local trains for staff from essential services, shops and salons, in a gradual manner. Though we have started the ‘Mission Begin Again’, it doesn’t mean the danger is over. We are in a fix and need to find a middle path. We are allowing activities one after another to restart the economic cycle, but it doesn’t mean that the danger is over,” Thackeray said. He was addressing the state through a webcast on Sunday.
The chief minister added there was an increasing demand from the local authorities to reimpose the lockdown in certain localities that have witnessed a spike in cases. “As we are opening up the activities, the number of coronavirus cases are increasing and I have received some requests from some areas for imposing lockdown restrictions again. If I feel that there is crowding and the cases are rising, I have given instructions to the administration to reimpose the lockdown restrictions if required,” he said.
Thackeray also said the state has increased the number of Covid-19 tests. “We will implement the ‘chase the virus’ strategy, used in Mumbai, across the state,” he added.
He also appealed to the Covid-19 patients, who have been cured, to come forward to donate blood plasma. “Such patients should donate their blood plasma as it contains antibodies which can help cure those who are fighting the disease,” he said, adding that the state government will inaugurate a centre for plasma therapy Monday.
Stating that Maharashtra has received approval from the central government to use antiviral drugs Remdesivir and Favipiravir for treatment of the virus-afflicted patients, Thackeray said the state was considering to provide the medicines free of charge at government and semi-government hospitals.
The state government, he said, has taken serious cognizance of the complaints related to the bogus seeds distributed among soybean farmers. “Legal action will be taken against those who have cheated the farmers. The government will also ensure that farmers get the compensation for their losses,” he said, adding that the government could not waive off the crop loans of some farmers due to the local polls and Covid-19 pandemic. “But now we have decided to waive off the loans of remaining farmers as soon as possible.”
Thackeray said that he will visit Pandharpur on July 1 to perform annual puja of Lord Vitthal and Goddess Rukmini on the occasion of Ashadhi Ekadashi. “When I go to Pandharpur for Ashadi Ekadashi, I will go as your representative and not as the CM. I will pray to Lord Vitthal to show his power to destroy corona and make a disease-free world,” he said.
Earlier this week, BJP legislator Gopichand Padalkar had demanded that the CM should avoid visiting Pandharpur due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
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