As the number of COVID-19 cases reaches 10 in the state—eight in Pune and two in Mumbai—the state government has decided to wrap up its Budget session a week earlier, so that the bureaucrats are free to focus on the health measures.
“We are appealing to the people not to panic. We are well-equipped with the arrangements to deal with the corona. The patients are being treated carefully. But people should be careful when in contact with the public. If possible, avoid crowded places for a few days,” said Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
“A crew of 40 persons came from Dubai to Pune. Out of those, 10 have been detected to be infected with coronavirus. Tests of four persons were negative. Three out of 10 are from Karnataka,” said Health Minister Rajesh Tope. He also appealed to the people who have returned from foreign countries to stay inside their homes for 14 days. “We have given instructions to all tourist companies saying that their foreign tourists need to be registered with the state government. The companies should inform the government about the arrival of these tourists and they should be checked thoroughly,” said Tope.
The state government has also declared that the private laboratories for detection of the novel coronavirus will be formed only after consultation with the central government. It also said that 700 beds have been kept ready for possible patients across Maharashtra. “Their beds are separate from other patients. Every district and municipal hospital has been given orders to be ready with such beds. This information is being given to assure people that the government machinery is ready and need not worry about virus,” said CM Thackeray.
The Maharashtra government has set up an independent follow-up system as well. The information will be updated every two hours and the cell will be active round the clock. Doctors have been trained by the central government authorities and they will train the fellow doctors across state. People from the state have been requested to take precautionary measures like washing hands every hour, using handkerchiefs while coughing, etc. “People should not use masks. Instead, using handkerchiefs while coughing will be better. If possible, avoid public functions and big gatherings,” said the CM.
While wrapping up the Assembly session amid the pandemic, deputy CM Ajit Pawar said, “During the session time, bureaucracy remains busy with the legislative work. We want to shift their focus to the current challenge. So, we will complete all the necessary business by the end of this week and the session will be wrapped up then.”
Most of the political leaders are avoiding big gatherings and rallies in the state. People have been advised not to gather to celebrate festivals either.