Just ahead of the cabinet meeting on Friday, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said he will prefer only ‘step-by-step’ unlocking of the business and activities in the state.
“I can’t risk the state’s population to infection. The cases may have come down significantly. The fatalities are also down. But, there are still 6,000 active cases in the state. We have to remain very watchful and allow the opening of only those activities, which doesn’t pose risks about infection spread,” said the Chief Minister.
He hinted that the cabinet will take a call on Friday keeping in view the demand of the traders for allowing the market to remain open for five hours, running transport facilities, and lifting restrictions at the borders.
Once restrictions on mobility at the borders are lifted, this will help to revive tourism, which has suffered a bitter blow during the Covid-19 lockdowns. Other business activities and transport will also slowly normalise.
Chief Minister claimed that the second wave of Coronavirus was very fatal. The speed of the infection and also its gravity was unexpectedly high. The people, who thought, the second wave will be milder than the earlier one, were caught badly and even could not get time to reach hospitals, or their conditions worsened within two or three days.
Thus, the state government has taken a decision to follow its model in Covid management based on local conditions and caseload. The focus will remain on managing the infection and checking its further spread in any condition. “So, I will not take any hasty steps,” he said.
Thakur said he will not blame the opposition for its criticism. This was a natural outburst when such a huge number of deaths happening, not alone in Himachal Pradesh, but also union capital and other states. There were genuine outbursts but yet nobody died in Himachal Pradesh for the shortage of beds or oxygen.
Asked if the government was considering Covid compensations to the families, who lost their close family members – few only bread earners, he said “We have not yet given a serious thought to it but we will examine this once we are done with the Covid-19 second wave”.
The government has started preparations for the third wave as being predicted.
“We are making exact assessments of the requirements about children beds, oxygen facilities, trained manpower, specialists, medicines, etc. Our fears are also compounded by the fact that the current drive of vaccination is only for 18 and above. Thus, advance measures will be in place to meet any unforeseen situation,” said Chief Minister.