Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday called the coronavirus situation in the state “serious” and warned that lockdown would have to be reimposed if daily Covid cases continue to rise in the next two weeks. In a virtual address, he said it would take “8 to 15 days” to ascertain if the current upsurge in daily figures is a fresh wave of infections. He also warned people to follow coronavirus protocols to avoid lockdown.
“Do we need a lockdown? If you behave responsibly, we will know in the next eight days. Those who don’t want a lockdown, will wear a mask. Those who want a lockdown, will not wear one. So wear a mask and say ‘No’ to the lockdown,” he said.
“Whether this is a second wave or not, we will understand this in the coming 8 to 15 days,” he added.
After a lull of three months, Maharashtra, which has the highest number of coronavirus cases in the country, reported over 6,000 daily cases last Friday. On Sunday, the state recorded 6,971 cases and 35 deaths. Mumbai, the state capital, logged 921 infections.
“The coronavirus figures are rising…the state was reporting around 2,000-2,500 daily cases; now, it is reporting nearly 7,000…active cases have jumped from 40,000 to 53,000…last year, the numbers that we had been getting during the Covid peak, are almost equal to what we are getting now…just think what the figures would be when we hit the peak again,” he said.
“If the numbers keep rising till the next 8 to 15 days, lockdown will have to be announced,” he added.
Mr Thackeray said that local administrations have been permitted to place restrictions in the worst-affected districts.
“In Amravati, Akola and many places, we have asked the officers to give a day and then announce restrictions and lockdown, wherever such steps are needed,” he said.
He said he has ordered the state administration to ban political, religious and social gatherings that require attendance of a large number of people.
“I have ordered that after tomorrow’s event, where I have asked only those needed to attend, political, religious and social events will be banned for some days…you promote your party, not coronavirus,” he said.
The Maharashtra government on Sunday said that Amravati district is being placed under lockdown for a week from Monday.
240 new strains of the coronavirus have surfaced across India, which are behind the fresh surge of infections being seen since last week, Dr Shashank Joshi, member of Maharashtra’s COVID-19 Task Force, has told NDTV.