Mumbai: Amid a surge in Covid-19 cases in Maharashtra over the last few days, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray rapped the divisional commissioners and district collectors on Tuesday, for lack of implementation of standard operating procedures (SOPs) for various sectors, that had been decided upon last year. He asked them to send out teams that would take stern action for violation of SOPs and COVID 19 norms during weddings, gatherings, parties and other social events.
At the video conference, Thackeray did not announce any decision on a fresh lockdown in the state. However, at the outset, he made it clear that it was for the people to decide whether they wanted a fresh lockdown or to live freely, with some restrictions.
“If people do not wear masks or follow health rules, then the district and police administration have a responsibility to strictly enforce these rules. They must take strict, punitive and necessary action, without showing leniency,’’ the CM said. His directives came on a day when 3,663 fresh Covid-19 cases and 39 deaths with a 2.49 per cent fatality rate were reported in the state.
Thackeray observed that the government had allowed longer operating hours for restaurants and hotels but rules were being openly flouted. He expressed serious displeasure over the administration’s inaction and directed divisional commissioners and district collectors to be vigilant and take steps accordingly in areas where the Covid positivity rates were high.
Thackeray’s diktat was: “The district administration should take strict action and revoke licences of halls or meeting venues where weddings and other ceremonies take place without people wearing masks. Even though people are careless and non-compliant, the local administration and police should not show any laxity in performing their duties. Strict action should be taken immediately, if hotels and restaurants do not follow the rules.’’
The CM further said, municipalities should start regular disinfectant-spraying in public places. “Increase testing through mobile labs by going from village to village. Make sure that all the systems in the field hospital are functioning properly,’’ he exhorted.
Further, he asked divisional commissioners and district collectors to strictly implement Covid-19 protocol, SOPs, and impose penalties for non-compliance as measures to curb the rapidly rising cases in the state.
Thackeray directed the divisional commissioners and district collectors to “perform targeted tests in areas or at the periphery where Covid-19 infection was on the rise. At least 20 contacts from a single patient must be traced.’’
“Everything has begun, restrictions have been relaxed, youngsters are out of the house, everyone is behaving as if the threat of coronavirus is over. As a result, we are endangering senior citizens in our own home,’’ he noted. He said the state government had created Maharashtra's health map by implementing the ‘My Family, My Responsibility’ campaign. Health workers should inquire about the state of patients suffering from related health problems, he said.
Thackeray also asked the administration to talk to business organisations and associations and ask them to ensure that SOPs were strictly enforced. The CM reminded that these organisations and associations had approached the government with repeated requests to lift the lockdown. “Adopt and implement containment measures wherever they are needed,’’ he added.