JALNA: The third wave of the coronavirus pandemic has started which will peak by January-end, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said here on Monday.
He also said that the 14-day quarantine period has been halved to seven days.
Tope's remarks come on a day Maharashtra reported 33,470 new COVID-19 cases and eight fatalities.
He appealed to the people to strictly follow the COVID-appropriate behaviour.
"The third wave of the pandemic has started. It is expected to peak by January-end," Tope told reporters.
He expressed concerns over many political leaders not adhering to the pandemic protocols despite the rise in cases in Maharashtra.
The health minister also appealed to political parties not to organise meetings and programmes.
Quoting an Urdu proverb, 'Jaan hai to Jahaan hai', Tope said that everyone needed to be safe and follow the norms.
"Due to the spike in cases, the closure of schools is necessary to protect children from coronavirus. People should support the restrictions announced by the government," he added.
Tope said that he had spoken with Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya during a virtual meeting about the pandemic situation on Monday.
In this meeting, utilisation of funds under the ECRP 2 (Emergency COVID Response Plans) for preparedness and prevention of the pandemic was discussed, he said.
"Repairing the defunct oxygen plants and expediting administration of a booster dose, vaccination of the children between 15-18 years was also discussed," Tope added.
He said that only four per cent of the total 17,000 oxygenated beds in Maharashtra remain occupied as of now.