As Mumbai crossed the daily count of 3,000-plus Covid-19 cases on Friday for the first time since the pandemic hit the country, and Maharashtra’s total tally zoomed past 24 lakh, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray warned that “a lockdown is an option in future”.

Adding 25,681 new cases – compared with highest 25,833 new patients on Thursday, the state tally now stands at 24,22,021.

Similarly, Mumbai added another 3,063 new cases and the city total jumped to 355,914, sending shockwaves among the civic health authorities.

“Lockdown is an option for the future as I can see it… But I expect voluntary cooperation from all people,” a grim Thackeray told media persons in Nandurbar after reviewing the ongoing vaccination programme in some remote tribal areas.

Health Secretary Pradeep Vyas cautioned that if the cases continued to increase at the current rate, by April 1st week, the state’s active cases could double from the present 1.77 lakh to 3 lakh.

Thackeray also made it clear that those who have been vaccinated and those awaiting their turn would have to compulsorily wear masks, maintain physical distancing and ensure sanitisation.

“It is now a year since we are battling the pandemic. We brought it under control, but now there’s a sudden surge which is matter of concern,” he said.

Rattled by the fresh wave, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Friday asked all hospitals to ensure a minimum 1,000 people are vaccinated daily to achieve 100,000-vaccinations per day in the city of around 1.75 crore.

Simultaneously, the state government reiterated its orders of last week, and ordered all private offices to function at 50 percent staff strength, barring those in the manufacturing sector, while adhering to full Covid-19 protocols.

The government has also ordered all cinema halls, auditoriums, drama halls, etc to operate at only 50 percent capacity and following all other norms.

With 70 more deaths recorded during the day, the state death toll increased to 53,208.

The state death rate was 2.20 percent, the recovery rate stood at 90.42 percent, with the number of active cases, jumping to 177,560 now, with the highest figure of patients in Pune, Mumbai and Thane, respectively.

The number of people sent to home isolation shot up to 867,333 while those shunted to institutional quarantine increased to 7,848 on Friday.

–IANS

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