Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope, speaking exclusively with Zee News has reiterated the fact that there will be no fresh lockdown in the state, but some restrictions will be introduced to keep a check on the increasing number of COVID-19 cases.
State health minister Rajesh Tope said there has been no decision taken on imposing another lockdown and the number of cases in Maharashtra has reduced over the past few weeks compared to other states.
The state government on Tuesday said Maharashtra was in a ‘safe zone’ compared to other states for Covid-19 cases, even as talks of a potential lockdown and stricter curbs have gained ground over the past week.
‘The growth rate of cases and number of infections in state have reduced in comparison to Delhi, Goa and Kerala over the past few weeks. Our growth rate is 0.2 per cent against the national rate of 0.4 per cent,’ said Tope.
He further said, ‘Daily testing during Diwali did drop to 25,000 from 90,000, but we have again increased it over the past few days. As a result, cases have increased a bit. Honourable Prime Minister has asked us to increase per million testing rate, and to do that, we have, for the first time, given targets to district collectors.’
The health minister said that if people are not going to follow the rules laid down by the state, then there will be strict restrictions and everybody will have to abide by them.
The Maharashtra government has already issued strict travel norms for visitors from Gujarat, Rajasthan, Goa and Delhi, all of which have seen a spike in COVID-19 numbers in recent days.
‘There are reports of people crowding public and market places without face masks. We appeal to people to regularly use mask and strictly follow other measures of sanitisation’, said the health minister.
Replying to a question on vaccine tourism, the health minister said he no information regarding it. He further said that if anyone is doing so then it is absolutely wrong.
Earlier Mumbai-based Gem Tours & Travel had announced a coronavirus vaccine tourism package for high networth individual clients who wish to travel to the US for the shot.
‘Be among the first to get Corona Vaccine: As soon as Pfizer Vaccine is officially published to sell America (tentative date 11 December), we are ready to get it done for select few VVIP clients’, the travel operator said in its package details through WhatsApp messages.
The package, priced Rs.1,74,999, comprises Mumbai-New-York-Mumbai airfare, three night/four days stay along with a shot of the vaccine. The story was first reported by The Times of India on Tuesday.
Health minister Rajesh Tope said, ‘There are two Indian and three foreign companies which are involved in development of vaccines but it is not sure when they will be available for masses.’
However he said that whenever the vaccine comes, the government is fully prepared to administer it to its citizens. Tope said that a special Task force has already been formed for it.
Health minister added that the Covid-19 cases are likely to increase in Winter. The Ayush Department has issued a direction and people should follow it. Tope added that it is necessary to live a disciplined life.