Maharashtra CM says lockdown can't be ruled out amid surge in COVID-19 cases

Maharashtra on Friday recorded 47,827 new COVID-19 cases, the highest daily count since the coronavirus pandemic began.
Uddhav Thackarey
Uddhav Thackarey
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Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday said the state may face a shortage of healthcare facilities if the present surge in coronavirus cases continued.

Addressing people through live webcast, he also said a lockdown can not be ruled out if the situation did not improve.

Maharashtra on Friday recorded 47,827 new COVID-19 cases, the highest daily count since the coronavirus pandemic began. State capital Mumbai also broke its previous record with 8,832 new infections.

"There are 2.2 lakh isolation beds in the state out of which 62 percent are occupied, 48 percent of 20,519 ICU beds are occupied, 25 percent of 62,000 oxygen beds are occupied while 25 percent of 9,347 ventilators are in use," Thackeray said.

In September last year, the state had seen a record daily rise of 24,619 cases while on Thursday the state reported 43,193 new cases, he pointed out.

"If this situation continues, the prevailing health facilities would be inadequate," the chief minister warned.

"We will increase the number of beds, ventilators, oxygen but what about health professionals? How will we get more manpower? In the last one year, most of them have suffered from COVID," he said.

Referring to an industrialist's suggestion that health infrastructure should be upgraded instead of imposing lockdown, he said those giving this suggestion should also provide expert manpower to monitor the health infrastructure.

"Till now, we have administered 65 lakh COVID-19 vaccine doses, including three lakh vaccine doses yesterday," Thackeray said.

But some people are getting infected even after vaccination because they stop wearing masks, he added.

People have become complacent, the chief minister noted, adding "I cannot rule out imposing lockdown if the current situation prevails."

His government wanted to safeguard the economy and livelihood of the poor, but it also wanted to save lives, Thackeray said.

"I am talking to experts on whether there is an alternative to a complete lockdown and how to break the virus chain. I agree lockdown is harmful. In a day or two, guidelines for stricter restrictions will be announced," he said.

He appealed political parties not to politicise the pandemic situation.

"Don't play with people's lives. I am ready to become a villain for protecting people," the CM said.

As many as 1.82 lakh coronavirus tests are being conducted per day at present and the state government is aiming to take it to 2.5 lakh with 70 per cent of them RT-PCR, he said.

People should wear face masks, maintain physical distance, wash hands and avoid crowding, he appealed.

"Getting vaccinated does not mean you are safe from COVID. It will help reduce the risk," he added.

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