Updated: April 3, 2021 10:49:12 pm
A day after Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray warned of a lockdown, cases continued to rise with the state recording 49,447 fresh Covid-19 infections and 277 related deaths in the last 24 hours. Maharashtra currently has 4,01,172 active cases. Of these, 9,090 cases were reported in Mumbai alone. The city has 62,187 active cases.
Thackeray, in an effort to ramp up medical infrastructure, also said that his government is considering diverting all industrial use oxygen supply for medical use as the daily demand for oxygen in Maharashtra has touched 700 metric tonnes against the state’s production capacity of over 1200 metric tonnes.
India on Saturday recorded 89,129 new cases — the highest since September last year. Corresponding to the rapid surge in cases, the number of active cases, too, have registered a steady increase for the 24th day in a row. The Union Health Ministry informed that eight states — Maharashtra, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh — account for 81% of the cases in the country.
Lockdown warning in Maharashtra
Stopping short of declaring a shutdown, CM Uddhav Thackeray warned that the decision may have to be taken after two days following consultations with experts and political leaders.
“I am warning about complete lockdown but not announcing it. I will speak to experts and political leaders in the next two days. If there is no other option to a lockdown, we will have to accept it,” Thackeray had said. He added, “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.”
Speaking on the availability of beds across the state, the Chief Minister had said, “This situation is very worrying. If the situation remains the same, there will be a shortage of health infrastructure in the next 15 to 20 days. I have given orders to upgrade health infrastructure wherever required. We will be able to increase the number of beds, ventilators and others.” However, he asked, “How can we increase the number of doctors, nurses and health workers?”
Meanwhile, to ensure that Maharashtra continues its rapid pace of Covid-19 vaccinations with as many as 70,27,500 beneficiaries getting the jab till date, State Health Secretary Dr Pradeep Vyas told The Indian Express that special permissions will be issued to those going for taking the jabs so that they are not affected by the restrictions and curfew imposed in Pune.
Health officials said the state has an adequate stock of 30 lakh vaccine doses and all efforts are being made to encourage local residents over 45 to come out in large numbers and get the vaccine.
Virus shadow over IPL
With just a week to go for the Indian Premier League (IPL), the coronavirus threat looms large over the mega tournament. Delhi Capitals’ Axar Patel, 10 members of the ground staff at Wankhede stadium and six event managers, deployed by the BCCI, have added to the growing list of positive cases in the IPL, starting April 9.
The tournament also comes at a time when Maharashtra has been recording over 40,000 cases daily and is staring at a lockdown, as indicated by CM Uddhav Thackeray.
Here are the Covid-related updates from the other parts of the country:
Himachal shuts schools and colleges till April 15, Odisha imposes night curfew
States have stepped up measures to break the chain of Covid transmission. As such, the Odisha government on Saturday imposed a night curfew in 10 districts — Sundargarh, Jharsuguda, Sambalpur, Bargarh, Bolangir, Nuapada, Kalahandi, Nawrangpur, Koraput and Malkangiri — from 10 pm to 5 am in the wake of rising cases across the state. The state’s Covid-19 tally mounted to 3,42,224 on Saturday as 452 more people tested positive for the infection.
The Himachal Pradesh government, too, ordered all educational institutions in the state to remain closed till April 15.
Former J&K chief minister Farooq Abdullah hospitalized
Veteran politician and National Conference president Farooq Abdullah, who tested positive for Covid-19 recently, was on Saturday admitted to a hospital as a precautionary measure. Taking to Twitter, his son Omar Abdullah said Farooq Abdullah has been admitted to hospital in Srinagar based on the advice of doctors “to enable them to better monitor” him.
“Our family remains grateful to everyone for their messages of support and their prayers,” he added. The 85-year-old NC president tested positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday.
(With inputs from PTI)
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