As the number of cases of coronavirus disease spiked beyond 500 in Maharashtra, chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday cautioned people against ‘wrong messages’ about Covid-19 on social media platforms.
The chief minister warned of strict action against those spreading communally divisive messages amid reports that several such videos have been doing the rounds on WhatsApp, TikTok and Twitter.
“Like Covid-19 virus, there is a communal virus too. I am warning those who are spreading wrong messages to citizens and uploading such videos even for the sake of fun. This Covid-19 virus sees no religion,” Uddhav Thackeray said on Facebook Live.
The Maharashtra chief minister also said the decision whether the 21-day lockdown will be extended in the state will depend upon its people and how they follow the government’s directives on the measure to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Maharashtra is the country’s worst-affected state and reported 47 new cases of Covid-19 on Saturday. With the fresh Covid-19 cases, the number of coronavirus patients in the state has gone up to 537.
Mumbai has the highest number of Covid-19 patients in the western state, which saw its first case on March 9, and reported at least 20 deaths.
“This is a vicious game, a game of self-restraint. We will have to follow self-discipline and stay at home,” the chief minister said.
The chief minister also talked about the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi’s Nizamuddin, which has emerged as the country coronavirus hotspot after thousands of members of the Islamic missionary group have been found infected.
More than 20 states have been scrambling to contain the spread by tracing, testing and isolating those who attended the Nizamuddin Markaz’s March event.
Uddhav Thackeray claimed Maharashtra has been able to mitigate the effect of the outbreak of coronavirus at the headquarters of the Tablighi Jamaat.
“We didn’t let what happened in Delhi happen in Maharashtra. It (Tablighi Jamaat event) was permitted earlier, but later looking at the situation we denied permission. Authorities now have traced all those went to the Delhi event from our state,” Uddhav Thackeray said.
He said all those who had visited Delhi for the Tablighi-Jamaat congregation have been contacted and put in isolation facilities across the state.
“Even if a few people have remained and could not be contacted, come forward, self declare and get tested,” the Shiv Sena chief urged.
The jump in infections across India to nearly 3000 came after hundreds of patients who attended the congregation of the Tablighi Jamaat in a violation of several restrictions.
The Union health ministry has said that at least 647 people among the thousands who gathered at the Jamaat’s headquarters, Nizamuddin Markaz, have tested positive in 14 states in the last two days.