Taking cognisance of the massive rise in COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday warned of a complete lockdown in the next two days if the situation in the state persists. Uddhav reiterated that he doesn't want to impose a lockdown, but the present situation demands stricter curbs as people are nonchalantly flouting the norms in place. The CM said that he would discuss it with a few experts across sections and announce his decision in the coming days.
Citing severe restrictions in European countries like France, Hungary, Denmark, Greece, Belgium, Portugal, Ireland, etc., Uddhav Thackeray slammed those opposing a lockdown in Maharashtra. Without naming the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and businessman Anand Mahindra, the Chief Minister said that instead of opposing and taking out protest rallies, their suggestions and help would be welcome. "Don't bring politics into this," Uddhav said firmly.
The Chief Minister also lashed out at those comparing the daily COVID-19 cases reported in Maharashtra and other states. "We are not hiding any patient and will never hide in the future. I don't want to speak about how fewer cases are being reported even in poll-bound states of West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, etc. where massive crowds are seen."
Uddhav expressed concern over the rising COVID-19 cases and said that looking at the current trend, the medical equipment in the state may fall short in the coming 15 days. "We have two lakh isolation beds (62% are occupied), 20,519 ICU beds (48% are occupied), over 62,000 oxygen beds (25% are occupied), and 9,347 ventiators of which 25% are in use currently," he said.
Speaking about the COVID-19 vaccination drive in the state, Uddhav said that Maharashtra tops in the country in terms of vaccinations. Over 3 lakh people were vaccinated in a single day on April 1, and over 65 lakh have received the jabs, he said. "The state is capable enough to increase the vaccinations to 5-6 lakh per day in the future, however, the Centre must provide more vaccines," the Chief Minister added.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra has reported 47,827 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, its highest single-day spike since the pandemic outbreak last year. Besides, 202 COVID-19 deaths were recorded in the day, taking the death toll to 55,359.