Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has asked officials to prepare for a lockdown with the state logging in 40,414 fresh coronavirus positive cases, the highest rise so far in a single day, on Sunday.
The state, which is the worst-affected in the country now has a total tally of 27,13,875 cases, the state health department said.
The state had reached the 26 lakh-mark of cases only on March 25. With 108 fresh fatalities due to COVID-19 infection, the overall toll in Maharashtra reached 54,181, the state health department said.
“Of the 108 fatalities, 56 patients succumbed in the last 48 hours while 29 others died in the last week. The rest 20 deaths had occurred before the last week,” the department said.
Mumbai reported the highest number of new cases in a day on Sunday, by adding 6,933 infections, taking its overall tally to 3,98,724. With eight more deaths, Mumbai’s death count rose to 11,653.
In view of the exponential surge in cases, Thackeray on Sunday asked officials to prepare a blueprint for the implementation of a second lockdown while also asking them to keep in mind that it doesn’t affect the economy.
The decision was taken by the chief minister at a meeting attended by health minister Rajesh Tope, chief secretary Sitaram Kunde as well as medical officers of the COVID-19 task force among others.
Thackeray asked the Department of Relief and Rehabilitation to prepare a standard operating procedure for a “limited lockdown”.
“There should not be any kind of confusion among the people once a lockdown is announced,” Thackeray said.
Officials at the meeting called for the implementation of stricter lockdown measures to break the chain of transmission.
Reports said during the lockdown essential services like grocery and pharmaceutical outlets will remain open, while private offices will be advised to ask employees to work from home or only allow 50 per cent of staff in offices.
The chief minister also took stock of the state’s health infrastructure including beds in hospitals, availability of oxygen cylinders and medicines. Principal Secretary (Health) Dr Pradeep Vyaas said that the state at present has 3.75 lakh isolation beds of which 1.07 lakh are occupied. Besides, 12,701 of the total 60,349 oxygen beds are occupied while the 1,881 ventilators of the available 9,030 are being used by COVID-19 patients.
Vyaas warned of a future deficiency in infrastructure given the exponential rise in infections that the state is witnessing.
A night curfew, between 8 pm and 7 am has enforced in the state from Sunday onwards in a bid to halt the transmission of the infection.
On Sunday, 17,874 patients were discharged, taking the total count of recoveries to 23,32,453. The state is now left with 3,25,901 active cases.
Pune district reported the highest number of 8,292 new coronavirus positive cases in the last 24 hours, taking the tally to 5,14,639.
The state so far has inoculated 57,62,601 people with COVID vaccine shots. On Saturday, 2,31,277 beneficiaries received the jabs across the state.
(With inputs from agencies)