Mumbai, 28th November 2021: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray today held a review meeting with all the Divisional Commissioners and District Collectors of the state regarding the new COVID variant situation and gave the following directions:
• Ensure proactive implementation of preventive measures.
• Strict adherence to COVID protocols to avoid another lockdown.
• Keep a tab on screenings of all passengers arriving at various airports across the state.
At the outset of the meeting, Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte said that there was a danger of a possible third wave.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said, “We have coped well with both the waves of Coronavirus disease (COVID19) but now the challenge of the Omicron variant of this virus is worrisome and considering the dangers of it, the administration of all districts including Mumbai should be very careful so that the infection does not increase under any circumstances.”
He added, “If the infection spreads again then steps like lockdown will be unaffordable. So the decision not to apply lockdown again requires regular wearing of masks, avoiding unnecessary crowds and keeping safe distance.”
He directed the District Collectors to conduct a rigorous test of incoming international and domestic passengers. He also clarified that the necessary steps should be taken immediately by taking whatever decision is needed on the ground without waiting for the instructions coming from the Central government in this regard.
Chief Minister Thackeray was addressing a meeting of all the Divisional Commissioners, Collectors, Commissioners of Police, Superintendents of Police and Chief Executive Officers of the Zilla Parishads through an online system today to discuss the measures to be taken against the new mutated strain of Coronavirus, Omicron.
Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope, Medical Education Minister Amit Deshmukh, State Task Force Dr Sanjay Oak, Dr Shashank Joshi, Dr Rahul Pandit, Dr Ajit Desai, Dr Khusrav Bajan, Dr Kedar Toraskar, Dr Zaheer Avirani, Dr Vasant Nagvekar, Dr Nitin Karnik, Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte, Principal Secretary Health Dr Pradeep Vyas, Additional Chief Secretary to the Chief Minister Ashish Kumar Singh, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister Vikas Kharge were present.
Oxygen, check availability of medicine, complete fire safety audit
The Chief Minister lauded everyone in the administration for their relentless fight against Covid. Every district administration should look into the availability of medicines, oxygen as well as fire safety as well as architectural audits and medicines to prevent the occurrence of fire.
Masks are essential, don’t let unnecessary crowds
“The people of Maharashtra are sensible. They have already complied with all the instructions of the government. There has been a decline in the number of Covid patients, leading to carelessness among the people. How to fight this new virus, what treatment to do will come later, but if the infection is not to be allowed to spread, then the mask is mandatory,” said the Chief Minister.
He added that wedding season is there. Friends and acquaintances will also come from abroad, so you have to be very careful.
People from abroad need to be monitored
A large number of people from abroad have started coming to Mumbai and other places. Many of them land elsewhere in the country and travel by domestic airlines, roads and railways.
The Chief Minister also said that if any of them was a carrier of the virus, others could be in great danger, so it was imperative to check and monitor such passengers, and work should be started on a war footing immediately.
Extend tests, provide necessary kits
The Chief Minister expressed concern over the declining number of COVID tests and directed to increase the number of tests. He also directed to take immediate action to get the kits of the new strain of the virus to the laboratories in the state.
“Keep in mind that small things can prevent the spread of the virus,” he said.
Why is Omicron dangerous?
Dr. Shashank Joshi of the Task Force briefed the meeting about the virus:
- Covid’s new variant replaces the earlier Delta variant of South Africa, which is much more infected.
- Delta was replaced by Omicron in just two weeks, indicating its lethality
- There were two mutations in the delta that caused the second wave. There are three mutations of the beta type but there are more than fifty mutations of the omicron type.
- Doctors and experts are trying to determine if current drugs, vaccines are effective against omicron variant, but we need to be careful not to panic as the rate of infection is much higher than the previous delta.
- Wear a double mask as it will remain valid. It is advisable to wear a surgical 3 ply mask and a mask of N95 type
- It is important to keep in mind that the mask is removed when eating or drinking
- Avoid the necessary crowds, travel only if necessary
- Those who have not been vaccinated should take it immediately
- There is only one way to prevent omicron – wear a double mask, stay in the open air, and take both doses of the vaccine.
Dr. Pradeep Vyas gave a presentation on the spread of the virus in Europe and South Africa. Dr. Sanjay Oak, Dr. Shashank Joshi and Dr. Rahul Pandit of the Task Force also gave guidance to take care in this regard.