Allowing unvaccinated people to use public transport will invite ‘explosive transmission’ of COVID-19, Maharashtra government told High Court

The Maharashtra government told the Bombay High Court on Wednesday that allowing unvaccinated people to mix with others using public transport would endanger the lives of others and promote “explosive transmission” of the coronavirus and of its variants. “The government of Maharashtra, as parens patriae (guardian of the state) cannot afford to take this risk,” he said in an affidavit submitted to the HC.

The decision to ban people who had not yet received the two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from using public transport in the state was taken to ensure that unvaccinated people do not put the lives of others at risk. danger, he said.

“Allowing unvaccinated people to mix with other people using public transport will only endanger the lives of others and promote explosive transmission of the coronavirus and its subsequent variants,” the government said in the statement. affidavit filed through its chief secretary.

The Maharashtra government told a bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Judge MS Karnik that such a decision was “reasonable”, and not discriminatory or in violation of a citizen’s basic rights.

Unvaccinated people have been banned from using public transportation to make sure they don’t mix with other citizens and contribute to the spread of the coronavirus, he said.

The state government filed its affidavit in response to two public interest disputes filed by one Firoze Mithiborwala and one Yohan Tengra, claiming that the state circular prohibiting unvaccinated people from traveling on local trains in Mumbai was without logic and in violation of the rights of these citizens to equality.

Last week, the HC ordered the government of Maharashtra to file an affidavit explaining the rationale for such a ban.

On Wednesday, the state said that unvaccinated people were prohibited from using not only local trains, but all modes of public transport in the state as well.

The decision was made after consulting with experts and members of the state’s special task force to combat COVID-19, he said.

The state government said as of December 20 of this year, a total of 54 people in the state had been infected with the Omicron variant of the virus.

He further said that, according to data available up to December 20, there were 544 new cases of COVID19 infections and four deaths from the viral infection.

“Unfortunately, the issue is not yet resolved. There is a likelihood of a third wave and also a likelihood of the new variant, Omicron, spreading,” the affidavit said.

“The government of Maharashtra cannot therefore take any risk and would like to err on the side of safety on the issue of public health,” he added.

The state also submitted data on the devastating second wave of COVID-19 that hit people earlier this year, and how state authorities worked to ensure medical assistance, beds adequate hospitals and oxygen supply for citizens.

The government has said it does not want this to happen again.

There was adequate research to prove that those who took both doses of the vaccine were less likely to contract severe COVID-19 or require prolonged hospitalization, he said.

He urged the HC to reject PILs, saying such a ban on unvaccinated people was reasonable.

The state government further stated that the petitioners themselves received both doses of the vaccine.

Although taking the vaccine is not mandatory for the country’s citizens, adequate vaccine doses and slots are now available statewide for those who wish to be vaccinated, the state said.

The HC will hear more of the case on January 3, 2022.

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