As the new COVID-19 cases rise in India and Omicron continues to wreak havoc, the Maharashtra cabinet on Monday stressed the need to expedite the pace of vaccination and effective steps to curb the spread of coronavirus. 

The number of active cases has increased by nearly 50 percent in the last 20 days, the cabinet was told at its meeting here. As of December 26, the state had 9,813 active cases of infectious disease. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who virtually joined the meeting held in Vidhan Bhavan in south Mumbai, asked for a meeting of the state COVID-19 task force in a day or two to review the prevailing coronavirus situation. 

A statement from the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) said that CM Thackeray suggested strict vigilance and effective steps to curb the spread of the virus. The statement said the cabinet expressed concern over the rise in COVID-19 cases in the last few days. Health secretary Pradeep Vyas made a presentation before the cabinet in which he said a further rise in the number of active cases is expected in January, according to the statement. 

The need of the hour is to expedite the pace of vaccination, the senior bureaucrat said, adding a few days ago, eight lakh vaccine doses were being administered to people in a day in the state, but that number has now come down to 5 lakh shots. The health secretary said on December 8, there were 6,200 active cases of coronavirus in Maharashtra and currently, their count has shot up to around 10,000. 

“In the last 20 days, the number of active cases has risen by nearly 50 percent. Also, in the last six days, the number of daily cases has seen a three-fold rise,” he said. The state’s COVID-19 positivity rate is 1.06 percent, Vyas said. On December 26, the state reported 1,648 new cases. The statement said the Chief Minister at the meeting directed all guardian ministers to expedite vaccination in their respective districts. 

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