No fresh COVID-19 lockdown in Maha but curbs in offing: Tope

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Mumbai, Nov 24 (PTI) There will be no fresh lockdown in Maharashtra but some restrictions will be introduced to keep a check on the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the state, Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Tuesday.

Maharashtra has seen a steady rise in COVID-19 cases in the last one week, increasing the woes of the state administration and fuelling talks of fresh curbs on public life as happening in some other states which have imposed night curfews in select cities to stem the infection spread.

Speaking to reporters here, Tope said, 'There has been no decision yet on introduction of another round of lockdown in the state.

'In fact, there will be no lockdown but some strict restrictions will be introduced for a period to keep a check on the increasing number of COVID-19 cases.

Maharashtra accounts for the highest number of COVID- 19 cases and deaths among states in the country.

Tope said, The state government has also ramped up daily tests to increase the chances of detection. No person needs to be afraid of another lockdown but there will be some restrictions for sure.

'We will hold a meeting with the chief minister and implement the decision accordingly.' 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.

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.

'There are reports of people crowding public and market places without face masks.' 'We appeal to people to regularly use mask and strictly following other measures of sanitisation, said the health minister.

The unlocking process was started after peoples demand to ease curbs, but now it seems citizens are not following preventive measures, Tope said.

In such a scenario, a second COVID-19 wave may come but it is difficult to forecast how serious it would be, said the minister.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has issued instructions on undertaking vaccination drive across the country. The state is preparing a database of personnel involved in health services, security and senior citizens who will get priority in COVID-19 vaccination, he 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,' Tope said. PTI ND RSY RSY