Over the last three days, Maharashtra has recorded more than 1.13 lakh new infections; 40,414 new cases were detected on Sunday. Maharashtra on Sunday reported 40,414 fresh coronavirus positive cases, the highest rise so far in a single day, taking its tally beyond 27 lakh to 27,13,875, 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, it said. Mumbai also 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. As cases are surging, the lockdown option was discussed at a meeting Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had with Health Minister Rajesh Tope, Health Secretary Dr Pradeep Vyas, and the Covid Task Force to consider ways to bring the surge in cases under control.

Chief Minister Thackeray is considering a lockdown for a limited number of days, officials said. Essential services like grocery shops and medical stores will be open and deliveries will continue, but private offices will be advised to encourage employees to work from home or cut attendance in offices to less than 50 per cent. 

Thackeray asked the Department of Relief and Rehabilitation to formulate a standard operating procedure (SOP) for a limited lockdown. A detailed plan will be released soon, the officials said. Senior state health officials said they have advised a lockdown for at least 15 days to interrupt the chain of transmission. More than 1.07 lakh of the 3.57 lakh isolation beds in the state are already occupied. No beds are available in districts like Nagpur, Aurangabad, and Nashik, health officials said.

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Mumbai and Pune are inching towards a similar situation. A senior heath official commented that as hospitals are running full and there is an increase in new infections and the only solution at this point to bring the situation under control is lockdown. Data from the health department show that 12,701 of the 60,349 oxygen beds are occupied, and 1,881 of the 9,030 ventilators are taken.

The Task Force is of the view that the night curfew should be extended to day curbs as well, until the situation is brought under control. At the meeting, members of the Task Force said delayed treatment and testing was leading to rising fatalities. BMC Commissioner Iqbal Chahal said they expect cases in Mumbai to touch 10,000 a day. Night curfew has also been imposed in Maharashtra between 8pm and 7am.  However, the vaccination drive has been hard hit by the rising cases and doctors have stated there must be some innovative steps to speed up the vaccination drive.

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