Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday indicated that a lockdown might be imposed in the state as coronavirus continued to rise.

The chief minister had called an all-party meeting on Saturday to discuss the coronavirus situation in Maharashtra. “The surge in the daily number of patients is rapid, if a decision about the lockdown is not taken today, a lockdown-like situation will automatically come into force tomorrow,” the chief minister’s office tweeted after the meeting.

Thackeray added that it was important to enforce strict restrictions for a certain period of time to break the chain of transmission of the infection. “The first priority will be given to saving lives,” he added. “If this is a public health emergency, then the priority will be health of citizens and their lives.”

The chief minister noted that tracing coronavirus patients and their contacts had become tougher now. “In last year’s lockdown, people were at home,” he said. “Now, everything has opened up.”

At the meeting, officials of the health department suggested imposing a 15-day lockdown, The Indian Express reported, quoting unidentified officials. The exact duration of the lockdown might be announced on Sunday.

Maharashtra Bharatiya Janata Party President Chandrakant Patil said no formal decision on a lockdown was made at the all-party meeting, though the chief minister seemed to be in favour of one, PTI reported.

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Meanwhile, Thackeray said that increasing vaccination coverage was the need of the hour. “The youth must be vaccinated,” he said. “Pfizer is planning to vaccinate adolescents between 12 to 15 years of age.”

The chief minister also said that his government was making plans to ensure that the new restrictions do not cause difficulties for the labourers. Thackeray appealed to leaders of all parties to support the decisions of his government.

Thackeray added that his government would act on the suggestions made by the Opposition about the availability of Remdesivir, test reports and oxygen supply

Maharashtra on Sunday recorded 55,411 new coronavirus, taking its total count of infections since March 2020 to 33,43,951. The state’s toll rose to 57,638, with 309 more deaths in the last day. Maharashtra is the top contributor to the surge in cases in India. Mumbai registered 9,327 new cases on Sunday. Its total count of infections since March 2020 rose to 5,10,225.

Coronavirus cases in India maintained the upward trend on Saturday, as the country reported 1,45,384 new infections in the last 24 hours. The country’s overall count of infections rose to 1,32,05,926 since the pandemic broke out last March. The toll went up to 1,68,436, with 794 more fatalities in the last 24 hours.