Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray today said that COVID-19 cases in the state are exploding dangerously. He said a total of 60,212 cases were recorded in the state today.
Several new restrictions have been announced by the chief minister, like Section 144 in the state for the next 15 days and curbs on non-essential travel, as the state struggles with a record spike in coronavirus infections and deaths.
Mr Thackeray's address follows a meeting of the state Covid task force that he chaired on Sunday.
Maharashtra has been reporting the highest number of Covid cases for weeks. On Sunday, the state reported 63,294 infections - the highest ever -- but the cases dropped to 51,751 on Monday, apparently due to fewer tests over the weekend.
Here are the Highlights on what Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said:
- We had good control over Covid till November-December. But now the war (against coronavirus) has begun again. And this time the cases are exploding dangerously. Today's cases are nearly 60,212 in Maharashtra.
- We have been discussing with stakeholders but there is no solution. 1,200 metric tonnes (mt) of oxygen is produced in the state everyday and 900-1,000 mt is being used on Covid patients. Also, the demand for Remdesivir has spiked. But manufacturing takes time and we will ensure we don't face any shortage.
- We have increased Covid centres, beds in hospitals, and ventilators. But now they are also getting over-burdened.
- I am requesting PM Modi to ask the Air Force to transport oxygen to us if needed because by road, it will take time. Please use the help of the forces since this is an extraordinary situation.
- We have once shown that we can control Covid during lockdown. We successfully brought down the cases in the past. We won't sit idle. We have to and we will win. We are increasing treatment infrastructure in Mumbai, Pune and Vidarbha.
- We must increase vaccination to beat the next wave.
- I appeal to doctors who have just graduated to come and help us. I am appealing to the health care workers to fight this battle. I am urging NGOs and other organisations to come forward to win this fight. Keep politics aside for now. If we all come together this time, we can win.
- Unfortunately, I have to announce more restrictions. Now is the time for action. I'm not announcing a lockdown for now but strict restrictions need to be in place. More restrictions to come into effect from tomorrow at 8:00 PM.
- Section 144 will be imposed across the state for the next 15 days. Unnecessary travel should be stopped. Except essential and emergency services, everything else will be shut in the morning from 7 AM to 8 PM. Public transport will function but it will be only for essential travel.
- Essential workers are those transporting vaccines, farm produces, rail, bus, plane, medicine shops, journalists, cargo, warehouses. Rest please don't venture out.
- Hotel and restaurants already have restrictions and take-aways will be allowed. Those selling food on the streets can sell from 7 AM to 8 PM but only after packing the items in takeaway parcels.
- Shooting for movies, television shows and advertisements in Bollywood will also grind to a halt.