Mumbai | Jagran News Desk: With Maharashtra continuing to report over 50,000 coronavirus cases over the last few days, state health minister Rajesh Tope on Friday said that the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government would be forced to impose a lockdown if the situation does not improve.

Speaking to an English news channel, Tope said that Maharashtra is "heading towards a lockdown" but expressed hopes that the state would be able to avoid that situation if appropriate COVID behaviour is followed.

"But when hospitals are overwhelmed, we have a dearth of doctors, there is a shortage of medicines and we are not able to cope with daily numbers, at that time the thumb rule is that we should impose a lockdown immediately so we can ramp up our capacities and can prepare for the situation," Tope told NDTV, adding that the Maharashtra government is not in favour of a lockdown.

Earlier, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray too had expressed concerns over the spike in coronavirus cases and had asked authorities to "prepare for a lockdown" as people are not following the appropriate COVID-19 behaviour.

Though the Maharashtra government is mulling stricter curbs, the Union Health Ministry has said that imposing a lockdown or night curfew won't help much in controlling the pandemic, adding that vaccination on a mass scale is the only way forward.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who held a meeting with all states and union territories (UTs) on Thursday, also noted that the focus should be on micro-containment zones to keep a check on the spread of the deadly COVID-19 infection.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra on Thursday reported over 56,000 fresh coronavirus cases, pushing the state's tally to 32.29 lakh. The state health department also said that 376 deaths were reported during the same period, taking the fatality rate in Maharashtra to 1.77 per cent.

The Maharashtra Health Department also said that more than 26.49 lakh coronavirus patients have recovered from the infection, taking the state's recovery rate to 82.05 per cent.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma