Won’t lift lockdown in Maharashtra just to address economic concerns: Uddhav Thackeray

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has warned against rushing to lift the coronavirus lockdown, pointing to similar measures by western countries that then scrambled to re-impose restrictions when they realised the virus was still spreading.

In a two-part interview, the first of which was released Saturday, with Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut for party mouthpiece “Saamna”, Mr Thackeray also cautioned people in Mumbai, where the outbreak appears to be under control, against letting their guard down, saying “I’m worried about that”.

“This is war against the COVID-19 virus and wherever countries removed the lockdown, all at once, they are now again re-imposing the lockdown, like Australia,” Uddhav Thackeray said.

The Chief Minister said that he was not in favour of complete lifting of the coronavirus-induced lockdown in the state only to address the economic concerns. He said there was a need to strike a balance between the issues related to health and economy considering the challenge posed by the pandemic

“Everyone says open and unlock things and that the economy is under threat. Yes, I agree. But will these people take responsibility if many people get infected or die? Are you ready to let people die for the economy?” he asked.

“Many people are opposing lockdown. They say that lockdown is affecting the economy. To such people, I would say that I am ready to lift the lockdown, but if people die due to it (lifting of lockdown), would you take the responsibility?”

“Even we are concerned about the economy,” he added.