PUNE: Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Saturday asked people not to lower their guard against COVID-19 in view of the possible third wave of the pandemic, and warned them against visiting tourist attractions in the present scenario just because restrictions have been eased.
He said people need to take the warning about the third wave seriously.
Pawar was talking to reporters here after holding a meeting with officials to review the coronavirus situation in Pune district.
He also said that if people continue to go out of the district for tourism purposes, the administration will have no other option but to impose a 15-day quarantine regime on such people after their return home.
Pune city is under level-II of the state government's unlock plan.
The coronavirus numbers are coming down, but as a preemptive measure, it has been decided that all the shops under the non-essential category, malls, hotels, and restaurants will remain closed on weekends, Pawar said.
"This system will continue for the next Saturday and Sunday. After that, if the situation improves further, a decision regarding (lifting) the weekend restrictions will be taken after a review," he said.
The deputy CM said that during the meeting, police officials and public representatives expressed concern over people heading to Mahabaleshwar, Lonavala and other tourist places in large numbers over the weekends.
"I don't understand why people are doing this. There is a need to take COVID-19 infection seriously. A lot of people have started going to tourist places out of the state; some go for trekking. If this continues, there will be no option but to quarantine people going out of the district for 15 days. We may have to issue such orders," he warned.
On the possible third wave of the pandemic, Pawar said that it is around the corner in America, England and Africa.
Despite a large-scale vaccination in America and England, the danger of the third wave still looms large there, he added.
"Therefore, we need to take the (warning of) third wave very seriously as people's health is of paramount importance," he added.
Pawar also said that students who want to fly abroad, should get both the doses made by a single vaccine maker.
"Many countries are preferring vaccines approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO). While Covishield has been approved by the WHO, Covaxin is yet to get its nod. Many students, who have already got a Covaxin dose, are inquiring where they should get the second dose of a different vaccine- Covishield, as it is approved by WHO and because many countries prefer that. Our answer is no, as it is not been advised by the experts," he said.
Pawar claimed that Bahirwadi in Purandar tehsil of Pune district has become the first village in the country to complete 100 per cent vaccination.
He also talked about a survey conducted by the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) on the COVID-19 deaths that occurred during the second wave.
"As per the report, out of total deaths in the second wave that took place in four major hospitals of Pimpri Chichwad, 53 per cent deceased were below age 60, while 20 per cent were in the age group of 21 to 45," he said.
He advised the Pune Municipal Corporation to conduct a similar survey in the city.