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As Maharashtra logged more than 25,000 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, the highest single-day spike, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said that a lockdown is an option but he trusts people to follow the norms on their own. He also said that the coronavirus situation has become grimmer as the number of new cases on Thursday crossed the earlier highest rise which was recorded in September and appealed to people to get vaccinated against the virus without fear.

"I see lockdown as an option going ahead. But I trust people of the state to cooperate (and follow the COVID-19 norms voluntarily) like the last time," he said.

On Thursday, the state recorded more than 25,000 new cases in the last 24 hours. And the day before, as many as 23,000 new cases were logged.

Earlier in the day, the state government issued fresh measures applicable till 31st March 2021. As per the government directive, all drama theatres and auditoriums will be operating at 50% capacity and one will not be able to enter the premises without wearing proper masks. The authorities need to ensure that all Covid-19 guidelines are being followed at the premises. The directive also said that all private offices, except related to health and essential services, will function at 50% capacity.

Meanwhile, The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Friday announced that it will make the Rapid Antigen Test facility to take samples for Covid-19 testing compulsory for all malls in the city. The new rule will come into effect from 22 March.

If visitors don't have a negative Covid-19 test report, they will have to get a Rapid Antigen Test done at the entrance of the shopping mall. "A team will be designated at the entrance for this very purpose. The details are being worked out," the Mumbai civic body said.

Noting that we have the vaccine to act as a shield against the deadly virus this time, the chief minster appealed to people to get vaccinated without fear.

"When the pandemic began last year, there was nothing to fight the virus with," Thackeray said adding, "But now at least we have vaccines as a shield. The priority now is to ensure that everyone is vaccinated. People should come forward to take the vaccine."

The Union government has assured that there would be no shortage of vaccines, he noted.

"There have been a few instances where a person caught the infection after vaccination, but such cases are not life-threatening, the chief minister said adding, "Everyone should get vaccinated without fear."

On Thursday, Thackeray had asked divisional commissioners to ensure that restrictions announced to curb the spread of Covid-19 are implemented strictly.

(With inputs from agencies)

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