Surge continues in Maharashtra, new restrictions under consideration

Authorities advise people to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour

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Geetanjali Minhas | April 2, 2021 | Mumbai


#Covid-19   #healthcare   #testing   #recovery   #Maharashtra   #Mumbai   #second wave   #curfew   #lockdown  


As the Second Wave of infections in India shows no sign of relenting, Maharashtra continues to report more than half the new cases, with 43,183 new cases and 249 deaths reported in the 24 hours to Friday morning. Authorities once again urged people of the state to strictly follow Covid-appropriate norms.

The case fatality rate in the state is 1.92% and recovery rate is 85.2%. As many as 19,09,498 people are in home quarantine and 18,432 people are in institutional quarantine. Out of the 1,99,75,341 laboratory samples 28,56,163 (14.3%) were tested positive for Covid until Thursday, according to latest official figures.

There were 81,466 new cases across the country in the 24 hours to Friday morning, and the figure has been rising for most of the time since mid-February. India’s active case load of more than 6 lakh cases at present has now surpassed the number recorded on October 29, that is, 155 days ago.

Maharashtra principal health secretary Dr Pradeep Vyas said the government is increasing capacities to detect early cases for testing, tracking, isolation and treatment and said that people must follow Covid- appropriate behaviour – they must wear masks when they leave home, maintain social distancing and sanitize hands.
 
Dr Vyas said that some people were spotted moving around without masks and the government is now taking action against violators. “There are strict guidelines but unlike last year, people are not following Covid-appropriate behaviour.”

Speaking on poor vaccination in rural areas and low turnout for vaccination, Dr Vyas criticized the media for spreading misleading reports and said that traditionally Maharashtra has very good health infrastructure with good network of primary health care centres. He however said that 50% of the state’s population is urban and as compared to rural areas, response to vaccination in urban areas is very good and people are coming forward to vaccinate.

“While no vaccine is 100% effective and any illness can recur, it is important to get vaccinated as vaccine will bring down severity of Covid,” he said. “The vaccine is like the seat belt. It will not prevent accident but it will protect you from severe harm because it is a precautionary measure against adverse effects of Covid.”

Dr Vyas said that Maharashtra has so far administered more than 63 lakh doses while more than 6 crore doses have been given across the country.  

Last week, after online meetings with Dr VK Paul of Niti Aayog, Dr Balram Bhargava of lCMR and Dr Sujeet Singh, chief, NCDC, on Wednesday, Dr Vyas issued a circular to district administrations in the state with preventive guidelines. He called for ensuring that contacts of quarantine patients (home or institution) should not move around. Districts have been told to trace 20-30 contacts for every Covid positive case within 48 hours and test them on the seventh day of exposure. The order calls for carving out a micro containment zone with 25 or more households under surveillance with strict parameter controls.

Meanwhile chief minister Uddhav Thackeray was chairing a meeting in Mumbai with state officials to put in place measures for control of Covid infection. He is expected to address the state and announce new guidelines at 8.30 pm.  

Though BrihanMumbai municipal corporation (BMC) has ruled out a strict lockdown in the city, Mumbai mayor Kishori Pednekar said on Thursday that preparations for tackling the Covid-19 surge are in full swing and the number of Covid beds have been increased from 16,000 to 25,000. She said the possibility of strict restrictions in view of violations of Covid norms was being considered. Hotels may be asked to operate at 50% seating capacity; cinema halls, theaters, malls and temples may be completely shut. Private offices may have to operate with 50% staff and in two shifts. Only essential services staff may be allowed to board trains.  

In Pune where over 9,000 cases were reported in the last 24 hours, deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar chaired a review meet at Pune’s Council Hall meeting Friday morning. As part of measures announced bars, hotels, eateries, cinema halls and state buses have been ordered shut for one week. Curfew will be imposed from 6 pm to  6 am starting Saturday.
 

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