Even as coronavirus cases continue to rise in Maharashtra, Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Thursday clarified that there is no community spread of the virus in the state.
He asserted that most new cases are of people who are either under institutional quarantine, home quarantine or with some contact history.
"I don't think that there is community spread in the state. At least, as of today, we are of the opinion that we do not have community spread here. Most of the cases which are coming positive are of people who are either under institutional quarantine, home quarantine or with some contact history," Tope said at a press conference here.
"We are seeing a lot of places where flattening of the curve has started like Sangli, Malegaon, and Solapur etc. Spread will increase it's true, but we can't close down everything including stopping economic activities. But there are certain places where lockdown can be imposed locally to contain the spread," he said.
"But it's not needed that lockdown should be re-imposed. We are going towards more relaxations phase-wise, not towards lockdown. We will see a phase-wise unlock in the coming days," Tope said.
Maharashtra, the worst-hit coronavirus state, has a total of 1,80,298 cases including 8,053 fatalities.
The minister said that Remdesivir and Favipiravir medicines will be available in all the districts in the coming two days.
"We are ensuring that these medicines are not just available for the rich and influential people. They will be available to all. In government hospitals, they will be free and in private and trust hospitals also we have ensured they are available at the least possible price," he said.
Tope highlighted that plasma therapy is a very effective way of treatment, with nine out of ten patients getting better through it.
He said that a dedicated helpline will be started for relatives of COVID-19 patients. He also said all hospitals have been directed to make arrangements for patients to see and speak to their relatives at a certain place while following all social distancing norms and COVID protocols.
The minister further said that all collectors and commissioners will acquire ambulances on a rental basis and per kilometre rates will be fixed for every district.
"About complaints of private ambulance operators taking extra money from patients, we have decided that all collectors and commissioners will acquire ambulances on rental basis and per kilometre rates will be fixed for every district. If any ambulance operator is found violating this, their license will be revoked and an FIR will be registered against them," he said.
Tope said that CCTVs for all COVID wards are being arranged.
"In all places, under the chairmanship of collector and commissioners in all districts a committee is formed which will look into the matter of arrangements at all COVID hospitals," he said.
( With inputs from ANI )