COVID-19: Maha CM urges PM to frame national policy to stop public gatherings

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(Eds: Adding information) Mumbai, Jul 16 (PTI) Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to formulate a national policy to stop public gatherings for social, political and religious purposes, in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19.

He sought three crore anti-coronavirus vaccine doses per month for Maharashtra, saying it would expedite the vaccination process in the state.

Thackeray was speaking during the prime minister’s video interaction with the chief ministers of six states over the coronavirus situation.

“Even as the government is battling the COVID-19 pandemic, the crowding at public places is a huge challenge. The Centre should conceptualise a national level policy to prevent public crowding happening in the name of social, political and religious gatherings,” the chief minister said.

A statement issued by the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said Thackeray told the PM that the daily spike in COVID-19 cases and the fatality rate in the state were going down. “But we want to bring these numbers further down,” he said.

'Even though the number of cases have reduced, we are still at risk. People have started going out for tourism, shopping and started crowding public places. This is revenge tourism and revenge shopping. Crowding at religious and political events is also on the rise. There is a need to stop this under a national policy, which will applicable for the entire country, 'he said.

Eight to 10 districts in Konkan and western Maharashtra regions are still reporting high number of infection cases. In these districts, 2.06 crore people above age of 18 have been fully vaccinated. A total of 87.90 lakh vaccine doses have been provided to these districts, Thackeray added.

“If the state gets three crore doses per month, vaccination in all the districts can be completed,” he said.

Maharashtra’s vaccine wastage rate was very low and the state was trying to vaccinate the frontline workers at the earliest, he said.

He apprised the PM of the steps being taken in Maharashtra to fight the second wave of the pandemic and added that measures to counter the possible third wave were also being taken.

'Oxygen manufacturing plants are being set up in each district,' the CM said.

Thackeray sought the PM's help in getting central assistance for starting centres of excellence for non-COVID treatment.

'The state government is taking steps that the coronavirus-induced restrictions do not hamper manufacturing and production. A COVID-19 task force for the industrial sector has been set up to plan staggering of work hours. Field accommodation facilities have been put in place at the factory premises and workers are being vaccinated on priority,' he added.

The chief minister also informed that the COVID-free village initiative of the state government has helped in creating awareness in rural areas.

Calling for regulation in prices of medicines, Thackeray said monoclonal antibodies medicine is very effective, but its cost is Rs 50,000 to Rs 60,000 per dose.

'If we have to give the medicine to 50,000 people, we will require Rs 300 crore. The Centre should regulate the prices and make it affordable,” he said. PTI MR NP NP

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