A lockdown in Maharashtra can’t be ruled out if the current surge in coronavirus cases continues, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said on Friday. His statement comes amid a fresh wave of Covid-19 in the state that has seen the highest daily infections since the beginning of the pandemic in the last two weeks.
“I cannot rule out imposing a lockdown if the current Covid-19 situation prevails. People have become complacent. We are in a catch-22 situation—should we look at the economy or health?” the Maharashtra Chief Minister said in a public address at 8:30 pm on Friday. Thackeray had held a meeting earlier in the day to review the coronavirus situation in the state.
“I have told you already, if this condition continues, in 15 days we will exhaust our infrastructure, hospitals will be full in the next few days. So today I am giving you a warning about a lockdown. I’m not announcing a lockdown yet. But if I don›t find a solution in two days after speaking to more people, then I have no option,» he said in the televised speech, adding that the state will announce new restrictions within the next two days.
“A lot of experts have come with their suggestions. Some said they will oppose the lockdown, a lockdown is not an option, transfer money to those who will lose jobs. An industrialist has also commented that rather than a lockdown, why can’t the government improve health facilities? I just have one request for these people: bring doctors for me, bring me people who will work for these facilities,” Thackeray appealed.
Referring to the Opposition, the Maharashtra CM further said, “I want to request all political parties not to indulge in politics which will play with people’s lives…People who wish to take to the streets to oppose the lockdown, please come, but not to oppose the lockdown. Come out to help the people, who are working in Covid facilities.”
The CM’s address came hours after an announcement that eateries, bars and restaurants in Pune will remain shut for seven days starting April 3 in view of a substantial rise in Covid-19 cases. The number of cases has been high in Pune despite the district surpassing Mumbai’s daily vaccination figures.
According to a report by Times of India, the state capital has been recording impressive coverage numbers ever since the vaccination drive began on January 16. However, recent data shows that Pune has been consistently administering over 35,000 doses per day, which is higher than the numbers for the Mumbai suburban region.
Maharashtra has been the worst-hit state in India so far. The state reported as many as 47,827 new Covid cases on Friday, which is more than half of the over 81,000 new cases reported across the country by the Union Health Ministry, and the highest in the state since the pandemic reached India in March 2020.
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