Solutions Summit: Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope On Unprecedented Covid Surge


Rajesh Tope spoke today at NDTV’s Solutions Summit.

New Delhi/ Mumbai:

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Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope today said the state government is “doing its best” to break the chain of transmission amid unprecedented Covid surge, adding that the state government “never tried to hide figures”. 

“We are doing our best as far providing crucial drugs such as Remdesivir and medical oxygen supply is concerned,” he said at NDTV Solutions Summit today. The state, worst-hit by the pandemic, reported 67,123 fresh infections on Saturday, its highest daily spike so far.

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“However, the state government has been very transparent (in its handling of the pandemic). We never tried to hide even a single case or death,” he stressed. 

On lessons learnt during the pandemic, he underlined that the officials diligently followed the 3Ts principle – testing, tracing, tracking – “to contain the virus”. “We had managed to flatten the curve. There was a time when we had reached 1,500-2,000 cases. Yes, we did ease the restrictions at the time, which may have led to spike in cases again.”

Has Maharashtra, hit by the second Covid wave, been caught off-guard? Replying to the question, he said: “Nobody had imagined the volume of the cases.”

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Urging people to follow all the government-mandated protocols seriously, Mr Tope highlighted the preparedness of his government amid the crisis. “There were only 1 lakh beds in the first wave. Now we have five lakh beds in Maharashtra,” he said.

Earlier while speaking to NDTV, another Maharashtra Minister  – Aaditya Thackeray – said that the state government is already preparing for the third Covid wave.

Mr Tope – speaking about vaccine demands in the state – said: “There should be no politics in an epidemic-like situation. Whatever the demands the state is marking, the centre should deliver.  Maharahstra has badly suffered. Accordingly, the vaccine demands should be met.” 

On Remdesivir controversy, he stressed,  “There is a proper protocol in place. All concerned officials should ensure equitable distribution. Food Drugs Authority also has an inspector. No party should intervene.” 

Yesterday, the Mumbai Police detained Brucke Pharma owner Rajesh Dokaniya, saying a truckload of Remdesivir was caught. Mr Dokaniya, the police said, was trying to export 60,000 vials despite an export ban.

But late in the evening, the BJP leader and former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and Pravin Darekar went to the police station and asserted that Union Minister Mansukh Mandaviya had asked him to supply the maximum Remdesivir to Maharashtra. Mr Dokaniya, they said, took all permissions from Maharashtra and the Daman administration and accused the state’s ruling Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi of playing “cheap politics”.


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