(MUMBAI, India) — The chief minister of one of India’s most populous states said in a live broadcast this evening that there’s a chance there will be a new coronavirus-related lockdown, which would affect the state’s 120 million people.
“I have not come to scare you,” Uddhav Thackeray, the chief minister of Maharashtra, said in the live press event. “I have come to find solutions.”
The western state of Maharashtra is India’s second-most populous state. Its capital city of Mumbai hosts more than 20 million people. Rumors of a statewide lockdown emerged Thursday after Mumbai reported its highest number of cases of coronavirus in a single day since the start of the pandemic, with 20 deaths in 24 hours.
Thackeray met with senior state officials this afternoon to discuss the recent spike in cases and whether they would proceed with another lockdown.
Thackeray urged the public to wear masks and maintain social distancing measures in his address. He stressed that if cases continued to rise at the current rate, there would be a shortage of healthcare infrastructure within 15 to 20 days.
“We have been ramping up the infrastructure, but where would we get doctors and health care workers?” he asked.
Public-health researchers were puzzled by India’s low number of cases at the start of the year, but the chief minister assured viewers that no numbers were skewed and that this second wave of the virus was much worse than the first.
A night curfew was imposed on Sunday throughout the state and in Mumbai until April 15. The curfew imposed a ban on gatherings of more than five people. It also ordered all malls, restaurants, and bars to close by 8 pm.
No concrete plan was given during the chief minister’s address to the state. However, he said that he “cannot rule out a complete lockdown in Maharashtra if the COVID numbers do not improve. I will make a decision in the next two days.”