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Maharashtra CM asks for ‘lockdown plan’ as health department says people not following Covid-19 norms

Members of the Covid-19 task force told Uddhav Thackeray that that the state might report 40,000 fresh cases in the next 24 hours.

By: PTI | Mumbai |
March 28, 2021 8:47:04 pm
Maharashtra lockdownThe area near Gateway of India in Mumbai remains deserted owing to night curfew in the city. (Express Photo: Ganesh Shirsekar)

In view of the rise in fresh Covid-19 cases, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday asked officials to prepare a plan for implementation of a lockdown which will have a minimum impact on the economy on the recommendation of the state Covid-19 task force, an official release said.

In a meeting held with the Chief Minster, Health Minister Rajesh Tope and other officials, principal secretary to state health department Dr Pradeep Vyas said there will be a “tremendous stress” on the availability of beds, oxygen supply, and ventilators, which could fall short if the cases continue to go up.

The members of the task force also expressed apprehension that the state might report 40,000 fresh cases in the next 24 hours. During the meeting, the Chief Minister reviewed health infrastructure, including availability of beds, oxygen, medicines etc., in the state to treat Covid-19 patients.

The task force then recommended that the state government implement measures like a stricter lockdown to stem the rise in cases.

“There should not be any kind of confusion among the people once a lockdown is announced,” the CM was quoted as saying.

Maharashtra has seen a huge rise in positive cases over the last week. As many as one lakh new infections were added to the state’s tally in such a short period. “24,619 cases had been reported in a single day in September, 2020. However, on March 27 this year, the state reported 35,726 new cases in a day. This number could touch 40,000 in the next 24 hours,” the release said quoting the members of the task force.

Dr Vyas made a presentation on the current status of beds, ventilators, availability of oxygen during the meeting. “There are 3.57 lakh isolation beds in the state of which 1.07 lakh are already filled. The remaining beds are getting filled fast,” Dr Vyas said, adding that out of the 60,349 oxygen beds, 12,701 beds are already occupied by Covid-19 patients.

“Out of the 19,930 beds, 8,342 beds are already occupied by mild-symptomatic patients. 1,881 of the 9,030 ventilators also remain filled,” he added.

The health department has blamed the rise in the number of Covid-19 cases to the delayed response by citizens. “People are not testing in time. They are not following Covid-appropriate behaviour. At the same time, private establishments are not following the 50 per cent attendance norms. There seems a casual approach towards home isolation. These all factors could be some of the reasons behind the spike in the cases,” the department said.

On Saturday, the state government announced a ban on holding of all types of gatherings, including political and religious. It also ordered that restaurants, gardens and malls will remain shut between 8 pm to 7 am beginning Saturday night. People will also not be allowed to visit beaches during 8 pm to 7 am.

Maharashtra on Saturday reported 35,726 new coronavirus positive cases, the second-highest daily rise, which took the tally to 26,73,461.

At 166, the state reported the highest number of fatalities due to Covid-19 in this year so far.

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