India’s Maharashtra state announced a week-long lockdown in one of its districts from today and advised 18 million residents of local capital Mumbai to obey COVID rules or face the consequences.

The move comes as four other states posted an upsurge in cases after a dip in numbers in the recent past.

Randeep Guleria, who heads India’s largest hospital in Delhi, blamed the COVID surge on bad behaviour as health authorities issued an advisory for the five struggling states.

And staring at the upsurge, medical expert Shiv Kumar Sarin felt the time had come to add more firepower to India’s vast vaccination campaign. But virologist Shaheed Jamil prescribed patience even though experts feared new strains of the virus in India could be more dangerous than reported.

India administered its first COVID-19 vaccine shots in the middle of January as the country rolled out one of the largest vaccination drives. 10 million front-line workers will be vaccinated in the first phase with an eventual aim to immunise 300 million Indians by August.

India is using the Oxford shot, being produced by the Serum Institute locally as well as an indigenously developed vaccine called Covaxin.

India begins world’s biggest COVID-19 vaccination programme:

India roped in private players to scale up testing during the nationwide lockdown, which began last March.

Spokeswoman of the Maharashtra government, Priyanka Chaturvedi, has urged federal authorities to invite the private sector to help out in the national task.