Mumbai, Jan 10 (IANS): In an unusually tough statement, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday warned reckless people "not to become Corona agents" by flouting norms and risking the lives of others as the third wave of the pandemic has set in the state massively.
Thackeray said that in the ongoing wave, "the rate of infection is very high", and it is critical to arrest it on priority without discussing how dangerous it is or not, otherwise it could lead to a huge strain on the state's health infrastructure.
This is the reason why the state government has imposed some more restrictions after discussions with the state Covid-19 Task Force, Centre and views of all concerned in the medical field, he said.
"We don't want to shut everything down with another lockdown. Laws and restrictions alone cannot help tackle such challenges. Each citizen, no matter their status in society, must follow the health department rules strictly to ensure that we can deal a fatal final blow to the Coronavirus," Thackeray said.
The Chief Minister added that instead of attempting to halt life and livelihood it is imperative to get rid of the virus by adhering to the restrictions, which the government enforces through initiatives like 'Break the Chain' and Mission Begin Again.
While lauding a majority of the citizens who diligently follow directives, he pulled up "the handful" of those irresponsible persons who flout them.
"This won't be tolerated anymore. The rules must be scrupulously followed. For the violators, all agencies have been ordered to take strict action. Remember, its for your own good so we all can come out of this as early as possible," Thackeray urged.
He pointed out that the healthcare system is already under duress, and if the number of symptomatic or unvaxxed patients shoot up then even the demands for oxygen will go up as they will need hospitalisation.
Thackeray said in many places doctors, nurses and other frontline medical workers are also being infected and "this is a warning for all".
"We have augmented all the medical facilities in the past two years, but if doctors also get ill, from where shall we get the manpower?" he asked, as hundreds of medicos, paramedics, police personnel and others are being afflicted in the state.
Schools and colleges have again shifted online to ensure that education does not stop and the Chief Minister urged the "young friends" not to loiter around unnecessarily believing its holiday time.
He also appealed that those who have not been vaccinated should immediately get their jabs and cautioned that in areas where inoculation is low, the state government would further tighten restrictions.
From Monday onwards, the Maharashtra government has imposed a night curfew from 11 p.m.-5 a.m. across the state, besides a host of other daytime prohibitions of five or more people together, and extended school-college closure till February 15, barring the Class 10-12 students who will write their board exams.
The government has slashed crowd limits for restaurants, cinemas, malls, gyms, salons, beauty parlours, gatherings, events, weddings, funerals, shut down swimming pools, curbed visits to beaches, gardens, parks, playground from 5 p.m.-5 am.