Uddhav Thackeray Hints At Maharashtra Lockdown After All-Party Meet

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Uddhav Thackeray held an all-party meeting on Saturday to discuss the COVID-19 situation.

Mumbai:

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday hinted at an impending lockdown in the state, which is struggling with an unprecedented rise in coronavirus cases, following an all-party meeting to discuss the crisis.

Maharashtra, which has been reporting around half of the new infections in the country each day, enforced a night curfew and a weekend lockdown this week and Mr Thackeray said stricter curbs were necessary to break the chain of transmission.

“If a decision about the lockdown is not taken today, a lockdown-like situation will automatically come into force tomorrow… In this situation, we will have to bear some hardship to win this battle,” he tweeted after the meeting.

However, not all members of the Shiv Sena-Congress-Nationalist Congress Party coalition that rules the state are in favour of a lockdown and neither is the opposition BJP, sources had said earlier in the day.

Former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis of the BJP said, “If you impose lockdown, people will be angry. Many businesses will be shut. Think about that.” His party’s state unit chief Chandrakant Patil said, “BJP is not against lockdown but there should be a proper plan before going ahead.”

Mr Thackeray pointed to challenges in contact tracing and pushed for widening the vaccine programme to the young population.

Maharashtra on Saturday reported over 55,000 new cases of the coronavirus, which pushed its overall tally to 33.43 lakh, while the death of 309 patients took its fatalities to 57,638, the state health department said.

The state has been recording more than 55,000 cases over the past few days. The highest single-day spike of 59,907 cases was reported on April 7.

India’s daily coronavirus cases on Saturday rose by a record for the fifth time this week and deaths surged to the highest in more than five months, with hospitals and crematoriums overflowing in parts of the country.

New cases in the world’s second-most populous country have totalled the most of anywhere in the world over the last two weeks. India’s overall tally of 1.32 crore is the third-highest globally, just shy of Brazil and below the worst affected country, the United States.

The second surge in infections, which has spread much more rapidly than the first one that peaked in September, has forced many states to impose fresh curbs but Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not imposed a national lockdown given the high economic costs.

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Thursday said that the state was heading towards a lockdown.

“We are heading towards a lockdown but I hope that we don’t have to go for one. Before that, if we contain the virus, we will be happy, satisfied and content. We are hoping for the best,” Mr Tope told NDTV in an interview.



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