New Delhi: Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Thursday (August 26) warned that the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic could strike the state as early as October end.
He predicted that as many as 60 lakh people could be infected by the time the festival season ends in November.
“Maharashtra will be hit by the third wave of the coronavirus by the end of October or the first week of November as most festivities come to an end, and at least 60 lakh people will be infected by Covid-19,” Tope told an English news channel.
He said that owing to the upcoming festivals such as Ganesh Chaturthi, Navratri, Dussehra and Diwali, a surge in infection could be seen.
He said that at least 13 lakh people would likely require oxygen support. He asserted that the state government is making all necessary preparations for dealing with the pandemic.
“We have increased our oxygen capacity to 2000 MT,” he said.
Tope said that the government is in the process of recruiting more doctors and health staff and enhancing healthcare capacity.
“We are recruiting 1200 doctors. By September end, we will recruit 7,000 more health staff. We are increasing the production of oxygen and the number of hospital beds. We've purchased 1000 new ambulances,” Tope said.
“We have approved an increment of Rs 1500 in the salary of ASHA workers. This will benefit 71,000 ASHA workers. Approximately, Rs 275 crore will be included in the budget for the same,” he added.
He further said that the government has directed district collectors and local authorities to complete vaccination of teaching and non-teaching staff by September 5.