Mumbai | Jagran News Desk: With the country crossing the grim mark of 13 lakh coronavirus cases, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday warned against lifting the COVID-19-induced lockdown "only to address the economic concerns".

While speaking with senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut for party mouthpiece 'Saamana', the Maharashtra Chief Minister said that he is against the idea of lifting the lockdown, adding that the country needs to strike a balance between the issues related to health and economy considering the challenge posed by the coronavirus pandemic. 

"I will never say that the lockdown will be lifted completely. But I have started reopening a few things gradually. Once reopened, it shouldn't be shut again. Hence, I prefer taking steps in phases. You can't just think about economy or health. There needs to be a balance between the two," Thackeray was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

Speaking about the people opposing the lockdown, Thackeray said that he is ready to lift the lockdown but asked who will take the responsibility if people die. 

Thackeray noted that coronavirus pandemic has turned into a "global war" which has affected millions of people across the world. He said that some countries lifted the lockdown 'hastily' but were forced to impose it again after a spike in the number of coronavirus cases.

The Maharashtra Chief Minister also spoke about restarting of the suburban railway network in Mumbai and said that "everything would be done step-by-step". "This is not just Thackeray sarkar, but everybody's sarkar, especially that of the citizens of the state, who have accepted this experiment," PTI quoted Thackeray as saying.

Maharashtra remains the worst-hit state in India by the novel coronavirus. The deadly pathogen has affected over 3.57 lakh people and claimed the lives of more than 13,000 in Maharashtra so far, according to the latest information available at the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

With the number of coronavirus cases rising in the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet all the chief ministers and represetatives of states and union territories (UTs) on July 27 to discuss the pandemic in the country and about 'Unlock 3.0'. According to reports, Home Minister Amit Shah and Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan will also attend the meeting.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma