New COVID-19 strain:Maha CM asks state machinery to stay alert

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Mumbai, Dec 22 (PTI) With a new variant of coronavirus spreading in the UK, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday asked the state machinery to remain alert and increase number of tests in the state.

According to an official statement, Thackeray also asked the authorities to make wearing face mask compulsory.

He issued the instructions while interacting with all the divisional commissioners, district collectors, municipal commissioners and district police officers.

He also instructed officials to impose fine on those who do not wear mask.

'Spread awareness among the people anew on wearing mask, washing hands and maintaining physical distancing. Make them aware of the threat,' the statement said quoting the CM.

Thackeray reviewed the current COVID-19 situation, the precautions to be taken in view of the new variant of coronavirus and vaccination preparation, the statement said.

State Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope also took part in the meeting.

'The state (government) machinery has worked hard to prevent COVID-19. But (we) cannot afford to be complacent in the light of the new variant of the coronavirus. We will need to work harder,' the statement quoted Thackeray as saying.

The chief minister instructed the officials to ensure adequate stock of oxygen, ventilators and medicines and also arrange for isolation facilities.

He asked the task force on COVID-19 to study treatment methods in the light of new variant of the virus.

Thackeray also instructed officials to get in touch with people having co-morbidities and ask them to take the required precautions.

The data of such people was collected during the state government's 'My Family, My Responsibility' drive.

The state government has already declared night curfew from 11 pm to 6 am beginning with Tuesday. It will be in force till January 5.

Thackeray said unnecessary traffic should be avoided during the said period, and asked officials to keep an eye on the international passengers who come to Maharashtra after undertaking domestic travel. PTI ENM GK GK