Maharashtra: Covid task force meet today, relief steps tomorrow | Mumbai News – Times of India


MUMBAI: While a Covid task force meeting is likely on Sunday, deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar will call for a meeting to plan the relief measures on Monday. It is likely that an official announcement will be made on Monday or Tuesday.
All the alliance partners have supported the decision for a lockdown and opposition leaders have asked the government to announce a relief package for all those who will be impacted. The meeting on Saturday was held to arrive at a consensus on a lockdown in the state.
Thackeray said there is no option but to go in for stricter curbs. “The number of patients is increasing so fast that if we do not decide on a lockdown today, a lockdown-like situation will automatically arise tomorrow,” said Thackeray. “This is a health emergency and so priority should be given to the lives of the people. The situation is grim and we have to impose strict restrictions to slow down the spread,” said Thackeray.
Senior officials said while current restrictions will continue, unchecked day-time movement on weekdays may be restricted too. He said the government is likely to continue with public transport such as trains, autos and buses for essential workers and for the general public for essential activities and emergencies.
“There are nearly 60,000 people who head out to vaccination centres in Mumbai every day. There will be students going out for exams. Public transport will continue for all those who have a valid reason to step out,” said the official. Also, long-distance trains will continue to run so that no one is stuck and there is no panic.
Opposition leaders said the government should come up with a comprehensive plan before any more restrictions are added. They also said relief measures and monetary packages for migrants, traders and daily wage workers should be announced. Subsidised foodgrains should be made available for all those who will be impacted.
“While imposing more restrictions, the government should take into account the public’s sentiments. Relief must be extended to small traders, retailers and salon owners whose business is also impacted,” said Devendra Fadnavis, leader of the opposition. He said medicines, oxygen supply and health infrastructure should be ramped up in both cities and rural areas.
“We are all concerned about the poor and working class. We will think about their problems too, but at the moment we need to stop the rapid spread. If we have to win this fight, we all have to go through some hardship,” said Thackeray. “There was a debate whether a seven-day lockdown would suffice, but health officials said at least 15 days are needed,” said an official.



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