Maharashtra mulls lockdown as COVID-19 skyrockets in India

Siliguri, India: Maharashtra recorded 47,827 new COVID-19 cases in a day on Friday, promoting state Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray stopping just short of imposing a lockdown in the state, where he was apprehensive of the same weeks before. 

On Friday, Mumbai, Maharashtra's capital and India's worst-hit city from the virus recorded 8,884 cases and 20 deaths, taking the city’s caseload to 4.32 lakh, as per the healthy ministry tally. 

In a matter of a few weeks following dropping a numbercases, India is now scrambling to contain the renewed spread of the novel coronavirus as daily cases spiral out of control. 

The sudden spike in the number of cases comes amid an accelerated pace of the outbreak globally thanks to the new strains that spread faster and infect more successfully.

Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray warned of a possible lockdown in the near future if the number of new emerging cases doesn't subside.

The politician blamed public indifference to pandemic-bound regulations and opposition political parties for threatening protest against lockdown, for the present situation.

"I will speak to the experts and political leaders in the next two days. If there is no other option to lockdown, then we will have to accept it as it is,” Thackeray said. 

"I cannot rule out imposing a lockdown if the current COVID-19 situation prevails. People have become complacent," he added. 

The CM also warned even if the state's healthcare infrastructure was to be boosted, the number of new emerging cases would still burden the system. 

Thackeray compared Maharashtra's COVID-19 cases from this year's January which was around 300 cases daily, which is now nearly 8,000 for just Mumbai. 

"If this continues, we will exhaust our infrastructure in 15-odd days," said Thackeray.

According to reports, the Maharashtra CM has reportedly ordered to boost the nation's health infrastructure like hospital beds, ventilators.

But raising concerns over a potential shortfall of vital healthcare staff, Thackeray said, "But how will we increase the number of doctors and other healthcare workers? Many healthcare workers and frontline workers were also infected...Are we not going to give them some rest?"

“Some strict restrictions will have to be imposed in the coming days. In cities, we will need to avoid unnecessary crowding. In Mumbai, there is crowding during peak and non-peak hours in trains. There is crowding in restaurants and in other places as well," Thackeray was quoted as saying by local media. 

Of grave concern

On Friday, India recorded 81,466 positive COVID-19 cases. The cumulative caseload in India was 1,23,03,131, as per the Union health ministry's tally.

Saturday's caseload further sprang to 90k new cases, shattering all records of the highest number of daily cases in the country. 

Total cumulative COVID-19 cases recorded in India stands at  1,23,92,260. 

Responding to the crisis, the GOI flagged 11 States and Union Territories as “States of grave concern” on account of their high and rising daily cases and deaths in a high-level meeting.

Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Chandigarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, and Haryana — have collectively contributed to 90% of Covid cases and 90.5% of deaths (as of March 31) in the last 14 days the health ministry said in a statement.

This is the biggest jump in daily new infections India has reported in the last six months.

As new cases continue to rise, India's government earlier this week opened the floodgates of the massive vaccination drive, enabling people over 45 to get themselves inoculated. 

Owing to the skyrocketing cases in the nation, India halted the crucial supply of the novel coronavirus vaccines, cracking down on its role as the world's pharmacy.

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