Rising COVID-19 tally worrisome; people defying lockdown: Tope

Mumbai, Apr 9 () Amid the growing COVID-19 cases inMaharashtra, health minister Rajesh Tope on Thursday unveilednew measures like deployment of SRPF in Mumbai's congestedareas and enlisting Fire Brigade to sanitise public toiletshere to minimise chances of coronavirus contraction.

He expressed concern over the number of COVID-19 casesin Maharashtra not coming down despite best efforts byauthorities.

As the state continued to lead the nationwide tally inpositive coronavirus cases, Tope lamented that some people aredefying the ongoing lockdown, enforced to halt the spread ofCOVID-19, on some pretext or the other.

In a statement issued in the evening after a cabinetmeeting, Tope said the state will open some closed schools anduse them as temporary shelters for people living in highlycongested areas as well for community kitchen for those whohave lost jobs due to the lockdown.Advertisement

"These are the decisions we have taken in the statecabinet, he said.

"Despite our efforts, the lockdown is being defied bypeople under various excuses. It is worrisome that the numberof COVID-19 cases is not coming down.

"We have decided to deploy additional staff from SRPFto strictly implement lockdown in the congested areasidentified as containment zones," the minister said.

"During my visits to densely populated areas such asDharavi (Asias largest slum colony), I noticed that a largenumber of people are dependent on public toilets, spots fromwhere infection can spread.

"Their are some public toilets, where one seat is usedby some 200 people during the day. The state government hasdecided to use Fire Brigades powerful jet spray to sanitisesuch public toilets every one hour."It would minimise the chances of people transmittingthe infection, he said.Advertisement

Tope said food will be supplied to the homes of dailywagers who are out of job currently.

"Similarly, in high density areas, daily wagers, whohad some small scale work at their homes, no longer have anysource of income.

"We will use community kitchens as well as local NGOsto cook and supply food to their doorstep every day, he said.Advertisement

"We have decided to covert school classrooms astemporary shelters for these people so that they can avoidcrowding on roads and maintain social distancing strictly,the minister said.

Commenting on use of rapid tests to detectcoronavirus, he said, The Centres permission is awaited forrapid tests."

The BMC has placed an order for one lakh testing kits,he said.Advertisement

"Once we get the permissions, blood samples will betaken from frontline workers such as doctors, nurses, healthservice providers and police officials to check whether theyhave developed anti-bodies in their system.This filtering will enable the state to decide on howto respond to the situation, the minister added. NDRSY RSY

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