Amid mounting global concerns over new coronavirus strain Omicron, the Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday asked the administration to be vigilant to avoid its spread and take all the possible steps without waiting for the Centre’s advisory. CM made it categorically clear that imposition of a fresh lockdown will not be affordable to the state and the people and to avoid it he called upon the citizens to regularly wear masks, avoid unnecessary gatherings, keep safe distance and take both doses of vaccines.
Thackeray at the meeting with the district collectors asked them to conduct rigorous tests of the incoming international and domestic passengers. ‘’A large number of people from abroad have started coming to Mumbai and other places. Many of them land elsewhere in the country and travel by domestic airlines, roads and railways to the various parts of Maharashtra. If any of them was a carrier of the virus, others could be in great danger, so it was imperative to check and monitor such passengers, and work should be started immediately on a war footing,’’ he said.
CM said that ‘’kuch nahi hota yar’’ (nothing will happen) attitude may land everybody in a big crisis and reiterated that the COVID 19 norms will have to be strictly followed by all. CM has convened an urgent cabinet meeting on Monday to take of the situation and take further measures in the wake of Omicron variant.
CM expressed concern over the declining number of tests and directed the administration to ramp it up. He also asked the administration to take immediate steps to provide necessary kits to all laboratories to detect the new strain of the virus.
CM at the outset hailed the administration for its role in their relentless fight against the coronavirus pandemic. He asked the administration to keep a close vigil on the Omicron variant spread and take adequate steps to ensure the availability of medicines, oxygen supply. He insisted that the district administration should complete safety and structural audits of the urban and rural hospitals to prevent the occurrence of fire.
‘’The people of Maharashtra are cooperative as they have complied with all government instructions to avoid spread of virus infection. There has been a decline in the number of COVID 19 patients but because of that the complacency has kicked in. Against this backdrop, if the infection has to be avoided, the use of a mask is mandatory,’’ said Thackeray. He urged the administration and the people to be careful especially when the wedding season is on and friends and relatives will come from abroad.
The Task Force member Dr Shashank Joshi briefed the meeting about the Omicron variant. ‘’Doctors and experts are trying to determine if this variant responds to the current drugs and vaccines. But we need to be careful and not to panic as the rate of infection is much higher than the previous delta,’’ he noted.
‘’It would be appropriate to wear a double mask. It is advisable to wear a surgical 3 ply mask and a mask of N95 type. Avoid the crowds, travel only if necessary. Those who have not been vaccinated should get it immediately,’’ he said.
‘’There is only one way to prevent Omicron - wear a double mask, stay in the open air, and take both doses of the vaccine,’’ he said.