Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday expressed apprehensions of a "second wave" of coronavirus transmission as more people are moving out for work and called for stricter compliance with norms.
Speaking at a virtual meeting with ministers and officials of Marathwada and Nashik divisions on the COVID-19 situation, the CM expressed concerns over asymptomatic patients, allowed to remain at home, stepping out without proper precautions, and infecting others.
He said the focus should be on reducing the mortality rate.
Thackeray directed officials to ensure that people follow health norms like wearing masks and that violators be fined.
Maharashtra's COVID-19 caseload stood at 13,00,757 as on September 25 while the cumulative death toll reached 34,761, as per the state health department.
"In Britain, asymptomatic positive patients are treated at home, but they are checked every day. They are shifted to hospitals, if needed. We are allowing asymptomatic patients to remain under home quarantine, but they are moving out and infecting others," the chief minister said.
"There is fear of a second wave (of coronavirus transmission) since more people are now moving out for work. There is a danger of senior citizens getting infected at their homes," he said.
During his interaction with officials, Thackeray stressed the need to increase mass awareness and tracing and testing.
"'My family, My Responsibility' is an important initiative in this regard. The campaign should become a health movement not just in our country but in the entire world," Thackeray said.
He said proper protocol should be followed in treating COVID-19 patients, "and only medical prescription should be followed".
He asked district-level task force comprising medical experts to remain in regular touch with the state-level task force.
The CM called for roping in folk artists for spreading the message of awareness in various dialects.
Thackeray said the number of RT-PCR tests needs to be increased.
"If results of antigen tests (for any person) return negative and symptoms prevail, then RT-PCR test is required and two swab samples need to be taken," he added.
The COVID-19 RT-PCR test is a real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test for the qualitative detection of nucleic acid from SARS-CoV-2 in the upper and lowers respiratory specimens.
The Rapid Antigen Detection Test (RADT) directly detects the presence or absence of coronavirus antigen in the patient's body within 30 minutes.