New Delhi: Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope has asserted that the state may witness a third wave of the coronavirus in July-August. Speaking to reporters, he said that the state is preparing itself to face a possible third wave of the Covid-19 for which the government is working to set up oxygen plants and arrange oxygen concentrators. “Maharashtra is trying to be self-sufficient in terms of availability of medical oxygen by then. It has been said the state could reach the plateau level of COVID-19 cases by the end of May. If it is hit by a third wave in July or August, it would increase the challenges before the state administration,” the minister said.Also Read - 'Viagra At Discounted Rates': How Fake Call Centre In Maharashtra Scammed US Nationals

Similarly, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray also asked district officials to make plans for new oxygen plants and stocking of medicines in view of the threat of a third COVID-19 wave. Also Read - 4 Children Test HIV Positive After 'Contaminated' Blood Transfusion In Maharashtra

The prediction by CM Thackeray and Tope comes as Maharashtra reported 66,159 fresh coronavirus cases and 771 fatalities. The fresh infections took the state’s overall tally to 45,39,553 and the toll to 67,985, the state health department said. Also Read - 'Recovery Is Underway In Spite Of Headwinds', RBI Says In Annual Report 2021-22

Lockdown-like Restrictions Extended Till May 15

Yesterday, the Maharashtra government extended till May 15 the existing lockdown-like restrictions enforced to stem the spread of COVID-19 in the state. An order issued by chief secretary Sitaram Kunte said the decision to extend the restrictions has been taken as the state continued to be threatened with the spread of COVID-19.

Prohibitory orders under section 144 of the CrPC, banning assembly of five or more people at one spot, are in force. Local train services in Mumbai and public transport are open only for essential services staff of the government.

At present, vegetable shops, grocery stores and milk outlets are allowed to function only between 7 am and 11 am. Essential services have been exempted from the purview of the curbs.