The coronavirus pandemic has been brought under control in Maharashtra thanks to the restraint and discipline shown by citizens, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said on Sunday, but warned people not to ignore safety measures as it can trigger a second or third wave “like a tsunami”.
“In the past, we celebrated all our festivals with caution. Be it Ganeshotsav or Dussehra. Even while celebrating Diwali, I requested you to not burst crackers and you followed. And because of this, the war against Covid is in our control,” he said in a televised address to the state.
“But I am a bit angry with you all. I had already said after Diwali there will be overcrowding. I have seen many people not wearing masks. Don’t think Covid is over. Don’t be so careless. Be in western countries, Delhi or Ahmedabad. This second and third wave is strong like a tsunami. Ahmedabad has even enforced night curfews,” Mr Thackeray said.
“Covid is not dying because of overcrowding. In fact, is going to grow. The vaccine is still not out, and we don’t know when it will come out. Even if it comes out in December, then when will it come to Maharashtra? Maharashtra has 12 crore people. And it needs to be given twice. So, we will need vaccine for 25 crore people. So please take care of yourself. It will take time,” he said.
“If we don’t have enough beds, our healthcare workers get infected, then nobody can save us. This is not the case right now, but we still must be very careful. We have still not been able to open schools. We are at a cusp. I don’t want to go to any lockdown again,” the Chief Minister said.
“Hence once again I want to tell you, do not overcrowd, wear a mask, wash hands, and keep a distance. This alone will keep us safe. I have now opened all places of worship. But please do not overcrowd these places,” he added.
Maharashtra, which reported the highest number of coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic, has managed to bring its caseload down and is the only state in the top-five tally where the number of active cases is going down.
Although it has reported nearly 18 lakh coronavirus cases so far, the state currently has less than 82,000 active cases. On Sunday, Maharashtra added 5,753 new cases and 50 deaths while 4,060 patients were discharged.