Omicron threat: Maharashtra demands ban on flights, decrease in gap between vaccine doses

Omicron threat: Maharashtra demands ban on flights, decrease in gap between vaccine doses

The Maharashtra cabinet on Monday discussed that flights from 12 countries of concern for the Omicron variant should be banned, said Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope. The Maharashtra government is also likely to propose Centre for banning of flights.

Tope said the cabinet expressed concerns about 12 countries. “We may request Centre to stop flights coming from these countries, including South Africa. As of now, we are implementing the protocols suggested by centre on testing and institutional quarantine of travellers from 12 countries. After quarantine, travellers will be tested again,” said Tope.

While BMC has decided to write a letter to Centre on the decrease in gap between vaccine doses, environment minister Aditya Thackeray met Mumbai’s municipal commissioner regarding the same.

BMC has done 102% vaccine of 1st dose (100% resident population and 2% floating population) and 72% population of the second dose.

“We are looking to increase the pace of vaccinations. BMC will demand from the Centre to decrease the gap between two doses from 8 weeks to 4 weeks. This is being done to increase the pace of vaccinations. We will not seek any additional doses from the Center if the gap is decreased. We will use the doses available with private and public facilities,” Thackeray said.

BMC will also ask the Centre to consider booster doses for frontline workers. Thackeray added that as of now, BMC will go ahead with the plans for reopening schools. BMC in its new guidelines said shopkeepers will be fined Rs 10,000 if customers in their shop are without masks. Many shopkeepers, however, are opposing this move.

“We will go ahead with plans to reopen schools and impose a Rs 10,000 fine on shopkeepers if customers don’t wear masks as a prevention. This is a temporary measure looking at the new variant. It’s not to punish anybody but to take precautions. I will not name South Africa as their point of origin just because their scientists have detected the variant. Travellers from countries of concern, who have arrived in Mumbai, are being traced and tested,” he added.

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