Follow Covid norms or face lockdown, Tope tells Mumbaikars

On Monday, Maharashtra recorded 15,051 new cases, a four-fold rise in daily cases from a month ago.

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Monday warned that government would be forced to impose a night curfew or a lockdown if people do not follow Covid norms, wear masks and strictly observe quarantine measures.

On Monday, Maharashtra recorded 15,051 new cases, a four-fold rise in daily cases from a month ago. Mumbai reported 1,713 new cases, Pune 1,122 and Nagpur breached the 2,000 mark with 2,094 cases. The state’s active case load has risen by over 50,000 cases in the first fortnight of March, in contrast to a rise by 33,307 active cases in entire month of February. The total active case load is 1.30 lakh. At least 27 deaths were reported on Monday, taking the state’s Covid toll to 51,109.

“Cases have increased along with infectivity rate, but virulence and case fatality rate have reduced significantly,” Tope said. The fatality rate was 2.26 last November. In February, it reduced to 0.69 per cent, and in March, to 0.5 per cent. Tope said currently the state has enough ICU beds, oxygen beds and ventilators.

“Most people are asymptomatic and under home isolation. Only 1-2 per cent needs ventilator. Lockdown is a solution when we fall short of beds or if there are not enough doctors to treat patients,” he added.

“I urge people to avoid unnecessary crowding and remain conscious about wearing masks. If needed, in districts where cases are spiralling out of control, night curfew or lockdown will have to be implemented. But I repeat, lockdown is not the solution,” Tope said.

The minister added that municipal commissioners and district collectors will be stricter in penalising violators of Covid norms. In Mumbai, over 20 lakh people have been fined for either not wearing masks or for flouting quarantine norms.

Urging people to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour, Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar on Monday said the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is reviewing the situation for the next 48 hours, following which night a curfew might be announced in the financial capital.

“We have requested residents repeatedly to wear masks but they are not listening. Today, the cases are rising in high rises. Almost 50 per cent of people are not wearing masks. If the situation continues, we will be forced to implement night curfew or lockdown in the city,” said Pednekar.

Maharashtra is testing 1.5 lakh per million population, and plans to further increase testing. Districts have been directed to increase testing, tracking and treating.

The state is vaccinating over 1.25 lakh people daily and plans to further speed up vaccination in districts with high active caseload. The minister urged people aged above 60 years and those aged between 45 and 59 years to step forward for vaccination.

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