Amid an alarming spike in Covid-19 cases across Maharashtra, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has called an all-party meet on Saturday to discuss the situation and steps to curb the spread.
The meeting will be attended by prominent faces of the Mahavikas Aghadi alliance and leaders of BJP, MNS, SP etc.
It is being speculated that the government is mulling a complete lockdown in the state as new infections reach record high. In the meeting on Saturday, CM Thackeray might try to secure the backing of opposition leaders Devendra Fadnavis and Raj Thackeray, who have opposed the current restrictions.
The state is currently under a strict weekend lockdown from 8 pm on Friday till 7 am on Monday. Section 144 has also been imposed prohibiting the assembly of five or more people.
The meeting comes in the backdrop of Maharashtra minister Vijay Wadettiwar stating that a three-week long lockdown was required in the state to bring the coronavirus cases under control.
Having only a weekend lockdown was not enough for the state considering the rise in numbers, he said.
“We are doing all we can to check the spread, but it requires strong manpower. We will soon make available five lakh doctors, including those who are completing their post- graduation,” the minister was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
“We need to bring curbs on the movement of railways and stop crowding in public places to prevent the community spread and save people’s lives,” he added.
He said that as relief and rehabilitation minister, he would demand for a strict and complete three-week lockdown.
The minister said he would raise the demand in front of Uddhav Thackeray.
The CM held meetings with private hospitals and representatives of the diamond industry over the pandemic situation.
Health minister’s warning
Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope on Friday warned that a full lockdown could be imposed in the state if the new cases overwhelmed hospitals.
“We would need a complete lockdown for 15 days to three weeks even though I am not in favour of that immediately. If hospitals are overwhelmed and if there is a shortage of medicines and if the government is unable to cope with the growing number of patients, then such a step can be taken,” Tope was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.
He, however, expressed hope the state would be able to tame the surge without imposing stricter curbs.
The state officials have also said that the government is considering extending the weekend lockdown beyond Monday.
Cases in Maharashtra
The state on Friday reported 58,993 new cases of coronavirus, which pushed its overall tally to 32,88,540, while the death of 301 patients took the toll to 57,329, 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.
With a record number of 2,45,707 tests conducted during the day, the count of people who have been tested so far in the state has grown to 2,16,31,258.