Further lockdowns neither a viable option nor sustainable, says MNS chief
Amid Maharashtra’s steadily deteriorating pandemic situation, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray has demanded that the Centre permit the State to purchase vaccines independently.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing grave concern over surging cases and fatalities, Mr. Thackeray urged the Centre to allow private agencies to purchase vaccines and permit the Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) to sell vaccines freely in Maharashtra but with due regulation.
“Allow other institutions like the Haffkine Bio-Pharmaceutical Corporation and Hindustan Antibiotics to manufacture the vaccine to ensure sufficient doses required in the State,” said the MNS president, detailing a list of five demands in his letter.
Saying further lockdowns were neither a viable option nor sustainable, he said if vaccines continued to be in short supply, the State government would be left with no alternative but to impose one.
“Therefore, 100% vaccination is an important strategy in the fight.” He said the State needed to achieve 100% coverage at the earliest, with inoculation of all age groups.
He said the pandemic had manifested itself in a different manner in each State and hence, it was essential to have a customised policy to deal with the situation. The MNS chief said the State had the highest number of active cases and fatalities in the country and that it had been hit hardest during the second wave as well.
“Health is a state subject and we must not only be allowed but also be encouraged to adapt different strategies that are appropriate to local conditions and character,” said the MNS leader, adding that this would foster innovation, enabling each State to deploy means to rein in the contagion.
Mr. Thackeray’s appeal to the Prime Minister comes a day after his cousin, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray who heads the tripartite Maha Vikas Aghadi government, imposed lockdown-like restrictions till May 1.
The State has been reporting average daily case spikes of over 55,000 and 300 deaths daily for the past fortnight.
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