Cannot rule out possibility of lockdown in Maharashtra: Uddhav Thackeray
Amid a huge surge of coronavirus infections in Maharashtra, state Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday said that he cannot rule out the possibility of a lockdown.
Thackeray was earlier apprehensive about enforcing a lockdown, however, he changed track after noticing what he describes as the public's failure to comply with preventive guidelines.
Maharashtra is India's worst-hit state in the outbreak.
People have become complacent: Thackeray
In a Friday evening address, Thackeray said, "I cannot rule out imposing a lockdown if the current COVID-19 situation prevails. People have become complacent."
"We have become lax," the CM went on, "People need to be careful as COVID-19 cases rise."
Thackeray warned that the state's health infrastructure could be overwhelmed in mere two weeks if the situation persists.
Mumbai reports record single-day spike in infections
"In January-end and beginning of February, we had around 300 daily COVID-19 cases. Now, we have nearly 8,000 cases just in Mumbai. If this continues, we will exhaust our infrastructure in 15-odd days," said Thackeray.
Notably, on Friday, state capital Mumbai alone added 8,832 cases—the highest single-day spike—and 20 deaths. The total number of active cases in the city has reached 58,455.
Thackeray sets 2.5 lakh daily testing target
"We had only two labs when the pandemic began. We set up more labs and are testing over 50,000 people every day in Mumbai alone," Thackeray said, adding that over 1.8 lakh people are being tested across Maharashtra every day.
"The target is to reach 2.5 lakh (tests)," he said.
70% of tests must be RT-PCR and we are maintaining this percentage, he added.
Gave instructions to increase hospital beds, ventilators: Thackeray
Thackeray said, "I have given instructions to increase facilities: hospital beds, ventilators...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?"
'Vaccine is like an umbrella, but COVID-19 is a storm'
"We have administered 65 lakh COVID-19 vaccine doses, including 3 lakh vaccine doses yesterday," Thackeray said.
He warned that getting vaccinated does not ensure complete protection.
"The vaccine is like an umbrella. It can protect from rain. But the COVID-19 is a storm. We are yet to find a solution to reduce the number of cases," he said, urging people to wear masks.