Amid a sharp rise in daily coronavirus cases, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday directed authorities to take strict measures to enforce guidelines to tackle the pandemic, PTI reported. Thackeray also warned citizens to follow the rules or be prepared to face another round of lockdown.
Maharashtra recorded 3,663 new cases on Tuesday, while just 2,700 patients were discharged. The number of active cases jumped to 37,125. With 39 fatalities, the toll stood at 51,591. This was the seventh straight day when the state’s daily count remained above the 3,000-mark. On Sunday, it recorded 4,092 cases, the highest single-day rise in more than a month.
The chief minister held a meeting with all district collectors, municipal commissioners, state coronavirus task force, health minister, police and senior health officials to discuss the situation, according to The Indian Express. Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar was also present.
The officials were asked to make all regulations stringent, including limiting people at marriages, fines for not wearing face masks, geo-mapping in rural areas of the state to check regions with high positivity rate and sealing of buildings which have become a hotspot. Authorities were also asked to temporarily not give permissions for protests, public meetings and processions.
“It is up to the people of the state to decide if they want a lockdown or live freely with some restrictions,” Thackeray said. “Wear face masks and avoid crowds or else you will need to go into a lockdown again. People may have become complacent but the authorities should not drop guard. If people do not wear masks or follow health rules, then the district and police administration has a responsibility to strictly enforce them. They must take strict punitive action without showing any leniency.”
The Shiv Sena chief also urged authorities to form containment zones wherever required and monitor commercial establishments and organisations to check if they are following the Standard Operating Procedure. “Timings of hotels and restaurants have been extended but safety norms have been neglected,” he added.
Thackeray also suggested that contact tracing of each patient must be done in a targeted manner. “At least 20 contacts of each patient should be traced and tested,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar urged people to take precautions and also warned that a lockdown will be imposed if people fail to follow the guidelines. “It’s a matter of concern,” Pednekar said. “Most people travelling in trains don’t wear masks. People must take precautions or else we might head towards another lockdown.”
Mumbai reported 461 new cases to take its total case tally to 3,15,030 on Tuesday. Three fatalities increased the city’s toll to 11,425.
Dr Shashank Joshi, member of the Covid task force, said imposing a lockdown was “not a practical solution” at this time. “Micro level geo-mapping will be done and areas where the positivity rate is higher than 10% will see stricter enforcement of Covid protocol in coming days,” he said.