Maharashtra on Friday recorded 47,827 new Covid-19 cases, the highest daily count since the coronavirus pandemic began. The new figure took the state tally of positive cases to 2,904,076, a Health Department statement said.
As many as 202 coronavirus patients died in the state on Friday, taking the death toll to 55,379, it said. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray warned on Friday that the state may go into a full lockdown if the situation did not improve within two days, and people did not still adhere to Covid norms.
But why has the CM held off on announcing a total lockdown for the state ahead of an exponential increase in cases? Here’s what we know:
1) Economic Repercussions: “This is a huge dilemma. If we bring in a lockdown, the economic wheel will stop. If economic wheel is kept working, then there is disaster,” the Maha CM had said on Friday. The fears of economic losses incurred by small and middle-income businesses during the lockdowns in 2020 are now renewed for many. Associations related to cinema, retail, and shopping industries had recently urged Thackeray to not impose a lockdown in Maharashtra. Multiplex Association of India (MAI), Retail Association of India (RAI), and Shopping Centres Association of India said they were following all the safety protocols of the government but a lockdown will hit the business, which was in the recovery process. Kamal Gianchandani, CEO PVR Pictures and president of MAI, said the cinema industry is mentally reconciled with the fact that they will have to “co-exist with the virus for some time”. “There’s a sensor deja vu for sure because we all have painful memories of the lockdown,” he had said.
2) Co-existing With Virus But While Following Norms: The Chief Minister said on Friday that many districts were also facing dire conditions due to the impending crisis, adding that hospitals, ventilators were insufficient. However, he said that instead of people asking the government to introduce a lockdown – which would impact economic recovery – they should instead pledge to take all precautions against coronavirus. Many incidents in Maharashtra have emerged in recent times where people are seen blatantly flouting Covid norms despite the current crisis the state is facing.
3) Politics Over Pandemic: The CM also warned against “politics over pandemic”. “Don’t play with public lives, there should not be politics over pandemic situations. There are many people who are giving advice that there should not be a lockdown in the state, some political parties threatened that if there is a lockdown, then they will come on the street. However, I challenge them to come on street not against the state but to support the health workers and create awareness among people. Come on the streets against coronavirus,” he said.
4) Vaccines: While lockdown had been the only option back in 2020 amid a newly-faced pandemic, since then, the world has a variety of vaccines to bank upon. Thackeray said in his address on Friday said that the current wave of Covid-19 was like a “storm” and the vaccine was an “umbrella”. “This umbrella (vaccine) will keep us safe from the rain, but currently we are facing a storm (pandemic). We need to ensure adherence to COVID-19 protocol like wearing masks, maintaining distance, and washing hands,” he said.
5) Opposition by MVA Allies: CNN-News18 earlier reported that while Uddhav Thackeray had directed the administrative machinery to prepare for a complete lockdown, there has been a severe pushback from both the MVA allies – NCP and Congress. According to them, a complete lockdown would result in economic harm.