Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has compared the battle against Covid with the Independence struggle, saying if people do not follow the protocol, the easing of restrictions will be reversed in the state and a lockdown reverted to.
Speaking on the event of the country’s 75th Independence Day yesterday, he said people need to act together to free the state and the country from the pandemic.
“We are easing restrictions now. We need to be more alert…if the number of Covid cases sees a rise, then we will have no other option but to reimpose the lockdown,” Chief Minister Thackeray said in his Independence Day address after unfurling the national flag at Mantralaya, the state secretariat.
Even though medicines and vaccines are available, he said there was still a shortage of oxygen.
Maharashtra is the worst Covid-affected state in the country with over 1.35 lakh fatalities till now and nearly 64 lakh cases reported — around 4,800 on Sunday alone. Five people, including one from Mumbai, have died and up to 66 have been found infected with the Delta Plus variant in the state so far.
Mr Thackeray yesterday said the COVID-19 pandemic took everyone to “pre-independence days” and that the state was fighting the disease with determination and the vaccination drive was also being expedited.
“Just yesterday, we achieved a milestone of vaccinating 9.5 lakh citizens on a single day,” he said. “But the threat is far from over. New strains of the virus are being detected in other countries…we have to take care that the threat doesn’t hit us.”
He paid tributes to Covid warriors and citizens who lost their lives in the pandemic. Celebrating Independence Day keeping in mind the history is not enough, he said, adding that the need of the hour was to preserve that freedom.
Mr Thackeray paid tributes to Chhatrapati Shivaji, saying the warrior king sowed the seeds of the struggle for independence from foreign rule.