Mumbai | Jagran News Desk: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday refused to impose a complete strict lockdown across that the state, noting that the daily cases have come down as people are following appropriate COVID behaviour.

"We have been able to contain the spread of COVID-19 due to restrictions and lockdown. Our estimate was that there might be 10 lakh positive active patients, but now it is 7 lakh cases," Thackeray said at a virtual press conference, as reported by news agency ANI.

Thackeray, however, said that Maharashtra would need more medical oxygen if cases rise in the state. Urging the Centre to increase its assistance, Thackeray said that Maharashtra is now setting up COVID-19 centres near oxygen plants to avoid delay in supply to patients.

"I have told them that all hospitals should now have oxygen generating plants. We have opened tenders for them and have started procurement. Even if we face the third wave, we will have enough oxygen then," Thackeray said.

The Maharashtra government had imposed lockdown-like curbs across the state earlier this month amid the massive spike in cases. However, cases have been steadily declining in Maharashtra over the past few days.

On Thursday, the state reported over 66,000 cases and 771 deaths while more than 68,500 recovered from the infection. Currently, Maharashtra's active case tally stands at 6.70 lakh while the death toll is at 67,985 -- a fatality rate of 1.5 per cent.

Though Maharashtra has been witnessing a decline in cases, state health minister Rajesh Tope on Thursday said that a third COVID wave is expected in July and August this year. He, however, said that the state government is taking all necessary precautions to deal with any such situation.

"Maharashtra is trying to be self-sufficient in terms of availability of medical oxygen by then. It has been said the state could reach to the plateau level of COVID-19 cases by the end of May. If it is hit by a third wave in July or August, it would increase the challenges before the state administration," Tope was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma