India

Keep COVID-19 at bay, CM Uddhav Thackeray urges people on 75th Independence Day

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. File Photo

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. File Photo

With the Maharashtra government’s relaxations in COVID-19 regulations set to take effect from Sunday onwards, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on the occasion of the 75th Independence Day urged the people of the State and the country to take a resolution to free themselves from the yoke of the pandemic.

Mr. Thackeray, in his address after the flag-hoisting ceremony at the State Secretariat in Mumbai, warned that the government would be compelled to re-impose a lockdown in the near future if cases surged again as a result of citizens flouting pandemic norms.

“We have not won our Independence easily… It is pointless merely remembering sacrifices of freedom fighters on occasion of every Independence Day. It is our duty to preserve the values of those who have made sacrifices to secure our freedom…In the last 18 months, we have been fighting the scourge of COVID-19 and trying to free ourselves from it. While the State government is relaxing some restrictions from August 16 onwards, I want to remind everyone that the threat is far from over,” the Chief Minister said, remarking that citizens would have to keep following COVID-19 appropriate behaviour to keep the contagion at bay.

Mr. Thackeray said that the relaxations in the State had been lifted taking into account the State’s oxygen generating capacity and warned that if the supply exceeded that limit, the administration may have to re-impose the lockdown.

“Cases have already begun to spike in countries abroad, where the virus seems to be striking with renewed vigour. We must take care that a similar situation does not occur here,” Mr. Thackeray said.

The Chief Minister urged citizens to bear in mind the crisis that had gripped the State during the respective peaks of the two COVID-19 waves.

During both waves, Maharashtra was at one point the worst-hit State in the country, contributing 60% of the cases and fatalities .

“A severe paucity of oxygen was a major issue during the last wave. While lifting restrictions, we have taken into account the present oxygen supply…I appeal to the public to follow COVID-19 appropriate behaviour in order to stave off the possibility of another lockdown,” he said.

Mr. Thackeray said that frontline COVID-19 warriors — be they doctors, nurses, police personnel, health workers — had made laudable sacrifices in fighting the pandemic that were akin to those made by those during the freedom struggle.

“Chhatrapati Shivaji unfurled the first flag of Independence by throwing off the yoke of foreign invaders. Mahatma Phule, Shahu Maharaj, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and other great reformers rooted out social evils and showed us the real meaning of freedom…it is incumbent upon us to preserve this and resolve to rid ourselves of the grip of COVID-19,” said Mr. Thackeray, remarking that the State had vaccinated 9.5 lakh people on Saturday alone and had created a record of sorts in the fight against the pandemic.


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Printable version | Aug 13, 2022 7:10:16 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/keep-covid-19-at-bay-cm-uddhav-thackeray-urges-people-on-75th-independence-day/article35922392.ece