Describing as "alarming" the rise in fresh COVID-19 cases in some districts of Maharashtra, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Monday warned of taking some "harsh decisions" and asked people to be prepared. Some districts in Vidarbha region in east Maharashtra, especially Amravati and Nagpur, and Nashik in north Maharashtra have seen the number of new cases rising over the last few days.
Speaking to reporters, Pawar expressed displeasure over people not following the pandemic-appropriate behaviour and violating guidelines. Pawar, who also holds Finance ministry, was in Aurangabad to chair a review meeting of eight districts under the Marathwada region.
"I have come across (reports that) people are not following the COVID-19 guidelines which are aimed at checking the spread of the infection. If the situation worsens, we may need to pay heavy cost for this carelessness. The number (of new cases in the state) is alarming. We have seen that lockdown was imposed in many parts of the world again in view of the second wave of the pandemic," he said. Pawar said the matter will be discussed with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in Mumbai tonight.
"Harsh decisions can be taken and the people should remain prepared. If certain decisions are not taken in time then we will have to pay a heavy cost later," he added. Maharashtra on Sunday recorded 4,092 new coronavirus cases, taking the infection tally to 20,64,278, while 40 deaths pushed the toll to 51,529, as per the state government.
The "3T formula" of tracing, testing and treatment will have to be implemented strictly to tackle a rise in COVID-19 cases in some parts of Maharashtra, state health minister Rajesh Tope said. Talking to reporters, Tope said the state government had managed to flatten the curve in the last one month as far as daily addition of cases was concerned, but a recent rise in numbers in Mumbai, Wardha and some other pockets was "alarming".
"We have given instructions that the 3T formula of tracing, testing and treatment be implemented strictly, effectively. Testing needs to be increased. Meanwhile, people also need to follow COVID-19 guidelines," he added. The minister said the situation needs to be controlled as "we don't want to go in for a lockdown now".
Speaking on the COVID-19 vaccination drive, Tope said the state was waiting for the Centre to start the second round of administering doses, adding that the vaccine should be given free to the "poor and lower middle class".
While 19,75,603 people have recovered so far in the state, there are 35,965 active cases as on Sunday.