We can't afford to have 2nd COVID-19 wave in Maha: Thackeray

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Thane, Nov 8 (PTI) Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday asked the people not to lower their guards against COVID-19 and said that although the infection cases were going down in the state, the pandemic was far from over.

He said several countries were facing the second wave of coronavirus now, but the state cannot afford to have another such wave.

Thackeray said this while virtually performing the 'bhoomi pujan' ceremony of an art gallery in Mira Bhayandar township in Thane district of the state.

'Even if the number of coronavirus cases in the state is going down, the pandemic is not over yet. If you look at the global situation, many countries are facing the second wave now. But we cannot afford to have a second wave,' he said.

'Therefore, people should not take things lightly.

They should follow all the guidelines and norms,' he added.

'The state government has so far relaxed several curbs. But the use of face mask is a must and it should continue for a longer period for the safety of people. We have to make sure that no second wave hits us,' the chief minister said.

Thackeray said that when the pandemic began, there were only three testing laboratories in the state.

'But the number of such labs has now gone up to around 500 in the state. Likewise the number of beds for coronavirus patients has grown to 3.75 lakh from around 4,000 in the beginning,' he said.

On the occasion, he also inaugurated a COVID-19 testing lab and a molecular testing lab in the township.

Referring to a request made by Mira Bhayandar Mayor Jyotsna Hasnale that a project being developed in the city be named after late BJP leader Pramod Mahajan, Thackeray said, 'We considered Mahajan as one of our family members.' 'Balasaheb Thackeray and Mahajan had cordial relations. Mahajan's contribution towards strengthening the bond between Shiv Sena and BJP was immense and it cannot be forgotten...Without that, I would not have become a chief minister,' he added.

'Mahajan made sacrifices for Shiv Sena. So as far as naming a project after Mahajan is concerned, we will do it going beyond the party lines,' he said.

'When it comes to development, there is no place for party politics,' Thackeray said.

The proposed art gallery, the ground-breaking ceremony of which was performed by the chief minister, will be known as 'Hindu Hriday Samrat Shiv Sena Pramukh Balasaheb Thackeray Kala Dalan'. It will be built at the cost of Rs 38 crore, officials said. PTI COR NP NP