'Maharashtra will face lockdown if...': Minister's warning amid Omicron rise

Published on Dec 25, 2021 06:52 PM IST

Maharashtra has already brought back some restrictions limiting the number of people attending events as it became the first state to have crossed 100 Omicron cases on Friday. On Saturday, Mumbai reported 757 new Covid-19 cases. 

People wearing face masks wait for their turn to enter a church to offer prayers on Christmas in Mumbai.(AP)
People wearing face masks wait for their turn to enter a church to offer prayers on Christmas in Mumbai.(AP)
By | Written by Poulomi Ghosh

Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope on Saturday said statewide lockdown will be imposed only if the demand for medical oxygen touches 800 metric tons per day. The state government does not want people to face more restrictions, the health minister said urging people to follow Covid appropriate behaviour strictly. Maharashtra has 108 cases of Omicron, the highest in the country, while the countrywide tally of Omicron has reached 415.

On Saturday, Mumbai added 757 fresh Covid cases in a marked surge.

The state government has already imposed some restrictions, including restrictions on any gathering of more than five persons between 9pm to 6am and a cap on the number of people attending public events in the state.

Omicron cases were increasing "rapidly", but in general such patients were not ending up in ICU nor did they need supplementary oxygen, the health minister said, speaking to reporters in Jalna. "There will be statewide lockdown only if the demand for medical oxygen rises to 800 metric tons (per day). We do not want people to face more restrictions, therefore I am making an appeal to people to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour. Wearing a mask is very important,” he said.

According to scientists who have been tracking Omicron cases it is unlikely that Omicron might lead to any breathing difficulties as the variant is believed to be multiplying in the throat. However, as the variant is spreading faster, it will eventually lead to pressure on the healthcare system, as seen in other countries.

Seeing the surge of Omicron, experts have projected a third wave of the pandemic in the country at the beginning of 2022 -- in January and February. The severity of the projected wave is unlikely to be intense.

As the Centre has urged all states and Union territories to be alert amid the festive season, the Mumbai civic authorities have already banned New Year celebration parties, gatherings in closed or open spaces.

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