Talking to reporters here, Tope said nearly 200 to 250 cases were being reported in the state everyday and there was not much increase in these numbers. "The COVID-19 recovery rate is very good and Maharashtra has seen very good vaccination results. Hence, I feel that in the present situation, there is no possibility of a fourth wave (of the viral infection)," the minister said. On Sunday, Maharashtra reported 326 COVID-19 cases, taking the state's tally to 78,82,802, while the death toll stood at 1,47,856 as no fresh fatality was recorded. As per the state health department, 251 patients were discharged on Sunday, leaving the state with 1,903 active COVID-19 cases.
Asked if the booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine was mandatory for everyone, Tope said there is no compulsion, but health and frontline workers, essential service employees and senior citizens were being given the booster shots as per the central government's guidelines. "However, we have not made the booster dose mandatory for everyone as there are no such guidelines from the central government," he said. To a query on supporting Sambhajiraje Chhatrapati for the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls to six seats in Maharashtra, Tope said, "We respect Sambhajiraje, and a final decision on supporting him will be taken together by Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, NCP president Sharad Pawar and senior Congress leader Balasaheb Thorat." The tenure of six Rajya Sabha members from Maharashtra — Piyush Goyal, Vinay Sahastrabuddhe and Vikas Mahatme (all three from the BJP), P Chidambaram (Congress), Praful Patel (NCP) and Sanjay Raut (Shiv Sena) ends on July 4.
The polls are scheduled on June 10. The BJP can win two Rajya Sabha seats with the number of MLAs it has, while the ruling allies Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP in Maharashtra can win a seat each. The contest will, therefore, be for the sixth seat. Sambhajiraje, a member of the Kolhapur royal family and descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, was earlier a President-nominated member of the Upper House of Parliament. He recently announced that he would contest the next election to the Rajya Sabha as an independent candidate, and appealed to all parties to back him.