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Maharashtra to ban gatherings from Monday: CM Thackeray

'Wear masks, observe discipline and social distance to avoid another lockdown'

juhu-beach-gathering-maharashtra-covid-pri Mumbai: People visit the Juhu Beach, even as Maharashtra sees renewed spike in coronavirus cases, in Mumbai, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021 | PTI

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday said that in view of the rising COVID-19 cases, religious, social and political gatherings will be prohibited in the state from Monday.

Asking people to follow "COVID-appropriate" behaviour and safety norms, he said he would observe for a week to 15 days and then decide whether to impose another lockdown.

"Wear masks, observe discipline and maintain social distancing to avoid another lockdown," Thackeray told the people of the state.

In his televised address against the backdrop of the sudden surge in coronavirus cases, he said the number of daily infection cases has risen from 2,500 to 7,000 within 15 days.

"The pandemic is raising its head in the state again, but whether this is a second wave will be known in eight to 15 days," he said.

Till a few days ago, the daily spike of cases was between 2,000 and 2,500, he said.

There are 53,000 active cases in the state. Even in cities like Amravati, the spike being witnessed now was not so high when the state saw a peak in COVID-19 cases earlier, he said, adding, "This is alarming."

"We felt that the pandemic is under control and a lot of hard work had gone into bringing it under control," the chief minister said.

"Religious, social and political gatherings will be prohibited in the state from tomorrow. Political agitations with crowd will have to be stopped for some time...All of us need to expand and spread our political base including myself, my allies and the opposition parties. But let us not spread coronavirus," he said.

People should follow 'Mi zababdar' (I am responsible) campaign, he said.

"In the war against the virus there is no sword as yet but face mask is the only shield. Vaccination has begun. Trials of two more vaccines are on. It is only after that common citizens will get doses," he said.

So far, nine lakh frontline COVID-19 warriors have been vaccinated and no serious side effects have been noticed, he said, and urged all the frontline and health care workers to get themselves inoculated.

People who have become negligent should not let the sacrifices of the coronavirus warriors go in waste. If you can't be a COVID warrior, don't become a COVID "doot" (carrier), he said.

"The second wave is knocking at our doors. It is upto us to decide whether to allow it in our lives again. Wear a face mask, use sanitiser and maintain social distancing. I will observe for a week to 15 days to take a decision if it is the people who want a lockdown," he said.

He asked the people to follow work from home practice and reschedule their work hours so that there is no crowding in public places.

Thackeray praised state energy minister Nitin Raut for cancelling the wedding reception of his son in view of the surge in the cases.

"This is called social responsibility. In the last few days, several of my colleagues have tested positive. I have given instructions that official meetings will now be conducted through video conferencing only," he said. 

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