Lockdown to be considered if oxygen requirement touches 800 metric tonne per day: Tope

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Imposition of a fresh lockdown in Maharashtra will be considered only if the daily demand for medical oxygen touches 800 metric tonne, Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Saturday.

The statement comes on a day when Maharashtra reported 1,485 Covid-19 cases and 12 deaths. This included two new cases of Omicron variant reported from Aurangabad, taking the tally of such cases to 110. Mumbai, meanwhile, reported 757 new Covid-19 infections, marking a rise in cases for the fifth day in a row, the BMC said.

On Friday, the state government had banned the assembly of more than five persons in public places between 9 pm to 6 am and restricted the number of people allowed at public functions in view of a spurt in Covid-19 cases.

Speaking to mediapersons, Tope said: “A total lockdown will be considered only if the oxygen requirement per day touches 800 metric tonne.” The minister did not mention the current rate of consumption of medical oxygen in the state.

“The situation is well under control. We firmly believe a complete lockdown is not on our agenda at this moment. We don’t want to inconvenience people by imposing such extreme measures,” Tope said.

However, he cautioned, “The Covid-19 guidelines have to be strictly adhered. Wearing masks and following social distancing norms is a must.”
Maintaining that Covid-19 cases of Omicron variant were on rise in Maharashtra, the minister said: “It certainly is a cause of concern. While the state is fully prepared to tackle the challenge… at the same time, I appeal to the people not to become complacent.”

“Till now, we have seen that Omicron patients recover speedily. Such patients neither have to be admitted to intensive care units nor require supplementary oxygen. This is reassuring. But we have to work to bring such cases under control,” Tope said.

Mumbai, which recorded zero pandemic-related fatalities on Saturday, had reported 204 new cases on Monday, 327 on Tuesday, 490 on Wednesday, 602 on Thursday and 683 cases on Friday. The total caseload increased to 7,70,190 while the toll stayed unchanged at 16,368. There are 3,703 active cases in Mumbai now.

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