A lockdown to contain fresh wave of coronavirus infections that have been rising exponentially in Maharashtra for the past few days cannot be ruled out, but will not be imposed all of a sudden, Uddhav Thackeray said on Friday.
In a televised address to the people of the state, the Maharashtra chief minister, however, said strict curbs will be announced tomorrow or day after to control the crowds, especially in cities.
“We have become a little complacent. With everything becoming normal, people have to be more careful. The whole country is fighting an unknown enemy,” Thackeray said.
“In the coming days, we aim to conduct 250,000 RT-PCR coronavirus tests on daily basis,” he said.
On the vaccination front, Thackeray said the state has potential to vaccinate 600,000 to 700,000 people daily, but it completely depends on the supply from the Centre.
“People are getting affected even after vaccination. so, wearing mask is a must,” he said.
Expressing concern over the health infrastructure, Thackeray said if the cases continue to rise, there will be severe constraints on the system. “62 per cent beds have been occupied, 25 per cent ventilators are in use.”
Thackeray had earlier said that he does not want a lockdown, but might be forced to take such decision. However, with daily infections touching over 40,000, the highest ever since the pandemic began last year, tougher restrictions might become inevitable.
On Friday, Mumbai reported 8,832 fresh infections, taking the active case tally to 58,455, according to BMC.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra on Thursday reported 43,183 new coronavirus infections, its biggest single-day rise since the pandemic began, which pushed the caseload to 2,856,163, according to the state health department.
Earlier during the day, Pune imposed a 12-hour night curfew from 6 pm to 6 am from tomorrow. Except weddings and last rite rituals, all other public gatherings have been banned in the district. For weddings, only 50 people will be allowed and only 20 people can remain present forlast rites. Essential services have been exempted from the curfew.
Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar claimed that people are not listening to safety precautions and hinted that hotels could be asked to operate at 50 per cent seating capacity and religious places might be shut completely.