Maharashtra's COVID-19 curbs slowed spread of virus; stricter lockdown may not be needed, says Uddhav Thackeray

The existing COVID-19-related restrictions in Maharashtra have slowed down the rise in cases, and a stricter lockdown may not be needed, said Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in an address to the state.

He said Maharashtra would have seen nine to 10 lakh active coronavirus cases if the state government had not imposed new lockdown-like restrictions.

The latest restrictions helped contain the daily spike in coronavirus cases and active cases have now stabilised at around 6.5 lakh, Thackeray said on the eve of Maharashtra’s Foundation Day said. “We will fight this coronavirus wave together like we did last year," he added.

On the vaccination process, Thackeray said, "I promise you that our government will fulfil its responsibility of vaccinating those in the 18 to 44 years age group. So, please do not crowd vaccination centres."

"We are talking to the Serum Institute, Bharat Biotech and also the manufacturer of Russian vaccine Sputnik. We have been told by the Centre that we will get 18 lakh vaccines in Mayfor the 18-44 group out of which three lakh doses have been received," he said.

Vaccine doses for the 18-44 age group will be administered as per availability and people should not crowd vaccination centres, he said.

"Register and then go to take the vaccine, otherwise I fear the centres may become COVID-spreaders," he said.

His government had prepared for a second wave of the pandemic but did not realise it would be so ferocious, Thackeray said.

"We are gearing up to tackle a third wave which is expected in June-July," he said.

Thackeray also demanded that every state be allowed to develop its own app for the registration of people for COVID- 19 vaccination.

Currently, people have to register to receive a COVID-19 vaccine jab through the Co-WIN app of the Centre.

"All states should be allowed to develop their own apps for registration....the state apps can be linked to the main Co-WIN app and this will help streamline the registration process and stop crowding at vaccination centres," the Maharashtra chief minister said.

With inputs from PTI