Mumbai: Amid surging coronavirus shocking numbers in the state, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday asked officials to prepare a plan for implementation of a lockdown that will have a minimum impact on the economy on the recommendation of the state COVID-19 task force, an official release said.

A meeting was held with the chief minister, in which Health Minister Rajesh Tope and other officials, members of the task force expressed apprehension that the state might report 40,000 fresh cases in the next 24 hours, it said. During the meeting, the CM reviewed health infrastructure including the availability of beds, oxygen, medicines etc. in the state to treat COVID-19 patients.

The task force then recommended that the state government implement measures like a stricter lockdown to stem the rise in coronavirus positive cases. The chief minister has asked officials to prepare a detailed plan for implementation of a lockdown which will have a minimum impact on the economy of the state, the release said.

“24,619 cases had been reported on a single day in September 2020. However, on March 27 this year, the state reported 35,726 new cases in a day. This number could touch 40,000 in the next 24 hours,” the release said quoting the members of the task force. Dr. Vyas made a presentation on the current status of beds, ventilators, availability of oxygen during the meeting.

Dr. Vyas said some districts in the state do not have vacant beds at all, which is an indication of the health system falling short (to tackle the rising cases). The health department has blamed the rise in the number of COVID-19 cases on the delayed response by citizens.

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“People are not testing in time. They are not following COVID-appropriate behaviour. At the same time, private establishments are not following the 50 per cent attendance norms. There seems a casual approach towards home isolation. These all factors could be some of the reasons behind the spike in the cases,” the department said. The CM then directed officials to ensure sufficient supply of foodgrains, medicines and all types of medical services to address the challenge of the pandemic.

On Saturday, the state government announced a ban on holding of all types of gatherings, including political and religious. It also ordered that restaurants, gardens and malls will remain shut between 8 pm to 7 am beginning Saturday night. People will also not be allowed to visit beaches during 8 pm to 7 am.

Maharashtra recorded today 40,414 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, the biggest jump in daily coronavirus cases the state has seen so far. The state’s total cases now stand at 27,13,875 and active cases at 3,25,901. With 108 more coronavirus-related deaths in the last 24 hours, the state’s coronavirus deaths toll now stands at 54,181.