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‘Lockdown if protocol not followed’ Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray warns citizens

Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray said that a second Covid-19 wave is knocking on the state’s doors and he also warned the citizens of another lockdown if protocol is not followed. He said that a decision will be taken after eight days. He has announced a ban on all religious, social and political gatherings and empowered local administrations to impose strict area-specific lockdowns if needed.

“It will be known in the next eight-15 days whether it is a second wave. We have been struggling with it [the pandemic] during the first wave because of poor health infrastructure, but it will be worse if another peak of cases happens. I am worried about the severity of a second wave if it hits the state,”Thackeray said. He added that he was leaving the decision of another lockdown to the people of Maharashtra.

“I am asking you whether you want curbs to be imposed again. The simple mantra is wear a mask, follow discipline and avoid lockdown. We will review the situation again in the next eight days and decide on a lockdown,” he said. Maharashtra recorded 6,971 new Covid-19 infections, its highest one-day spike in 121 days (since October 23 when the state clocked 7,347 cases).

The state’s case tally reached 2,100,884, while the toll went up to 51,799 with 35 more deaths. Many districts such as Amravati, Yavatmal, Akola, Nashik and Pune imposed curbs in the wake of rise in number of cases over the past two weeks.

He said that he has given instructions to district administrations in Amravati and Vidharba where the cases have mounted to the level that was there during the peak of the pandemic. Political parties have been urged to go back to digital platforms for their meetings and gatherings.

He also said that the offices should resort to staggered working hours. “I have requested the central government during our meeting with NITI Aayog to plan for staggered working hours of offices. The offices should stagger their timings by dividing their employees in batches and encouraging them to the work from home. This would help in avoiding crowding in trains and public places,” he said. He also insisted people on wearing masks, social distancing and sanitising hands.

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