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Maharashtra records 67,123 cases, highest single day count till date

Maharashtra on Saturday recorded its highest single-day jump in Covid-19 cases with 67,123 fresh infections
By Swapnil Rawal, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON APR 17, 2021 11:52 PM IST

Maharashtra on Saturday recorded its highest single-day jump in Covid-19 cases with 67,123 fresh infections. The state also added 419 fatalities due to Covid-19, the highest in 197 days since October 2, when 424 deaths were reported.

The death toll rose to 59,970 and the state is expected to cross the 60,000-mark on Sunday.

Maharashtra continued to report over 60,000 cases for the third consecutive day on Saturday taking the tally to 3,770,707. The active case count in the state rose to 647,933. Mumbai, meanwhile, added 8,811 fresh Covid-19 infections taking its tally to 571,018. The death toll increased by 51 fatalities, pushing it to 12,301.

Even as the state is battling the second wave of Covid, chief minister (CM) Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday asked the industry leaders to draw up a plan to tackle the third wave of coronavirus.

Thackeray also reached out to industry leaders from the state and sought their assistance in the fight against Covid-19. The chief minister sought help in the production and supply of oxygen, increasing health infrastructure, setting up laboratories, and speeding up vaccinations. The CM appealed to the corporate community to set up oxygen production plants using modern technology in their premises and to assist the state with its supply.

The virtual meeting was held with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), including Uday Kotak, Niranjan Hiranandani, Harsh Goenka, Sanjeev Bajaj, Naushad Forbes, SN Subramanian, among others. “If the third wave comes, the industries have to ensure that it does not harm the business and the economy. It should adopt the appropriate working method and set up Covid-related facilities,” Thackeray said, according to the statement from the chief ministers’ office (CMO).

Thackeray further said that today nobody can predict how many such waves of Covid will come. “But now the industries in the state have to do the necessary planning, to face the coming wave,” he added. Thackeray also said that a task force consisting of industrialists for better coordination will be set up on the lines of the Covid task force.

The CM further suggested them to adopt the Covid-19 appropriate working method, setting up testing and vaccination facilities, creating special systems for the health of workers and employees, setting up isolation facilities within industry premises, developing work-from-home mechanism, and staggering work hours, etc.

Thackeray also said that the state is in dire need of oxygen and the government is hopeful that the Centre will provide all assistance. “We are in dire need of oxygen as the cases have surged. Currently, oxygen produced in the state is diverted for medical use. We will further need more oxygen looking at the rising cases. I wasn’t able to speak to the Prime Minister on this issue yesterday, as he is busy with the elections in West Bengal. But we are hopeful that we will receive all assistance from them,” said Thackeray, according to the CMO statement.

During the meeting with industrialists, they were given an overview of the Covid situation in the state. Principal secretary of health department Dr Pradeep Vyas said that the Covid cases in the state are on the rise and the doubling rate has fallen to merely 40 days and with the cases on the rise, the requirement for oxygen is expected to go up.

As cases and fatalities continue to mount in the state, the Maharashtra government is working to fill in the shortfall of medical use of oxygen and remdesivir injections. State health minister Rajesh Tope held a meeting with Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union health minister, and said that the supply of oxygen has started from other states, while adequate availability of remdesivir will happen in the next two to three days.

“We have 1,500 metric ton of oxygen available with us and we use it only for medical use. A schedule has been prepared to transport oxygen from various states to Maharashtra from April 15. The Union home secretary has also directed all the states to not stop the oxygen coming to Maharashtra. We have sought help for tankers from the Centre, we have also asked to supply through cryogenic tanks on railway wagons. The Centre has given 162 oxygen generator projects to many states, we too expect that Maharashtra will get some,” he said in Jalna after the meeting.

Tope added that industries are also pitching to help out the state for oxygen supply. “[Representatives from] JSW Steel has said that it would be able to provide 195MT oxygen daily after five days. Additional 200MT will also be provided by them in the coming days. Many industry heads have said that it will also provide oxygen cylinders.”

On the availability of remdesivir drug, Tope said that the state has reiterated its demand to allow the use of the ready stock of the exporter. “As many as 15 exporters have finished product available and we again asked them (Centre) to supply it to Maharashtra,” he said.

Meanwhile, the rising deaths are being attributed to late detection and admission to hospitals by the health department. Besides Mumbai, Ahmednagar district added 51 fatalities followed by Nagpur and Nanded districts with 34 deaths each. Pune district, which added 12,825 fresh cases, reported 30 deaths. Jalgaon district added 29 deaths, while Thane district, which has five municipal corporations and rural areas, added 27 deaths. Yavatmal district reported 13 deaths, while Latur and Osmanabad districts added 12 deaths each.

Officials expect the Covid-19 cases to stabilise in a few days. TP Lahane, director of the Directorate of Medical Education and Research, said, “The lockdown will be beneficial. We expect the numbers to come down after seven days since the strict restrictions are imposed.” Officials are expected to take a review of the situation in the next week.

Even as ministers have warned of stricter restrictions and a total lockdown, Tope said that a decision would be taken after the 15-day curfew ends. “We have taken this decision even though it has inconvenienced many. We want this decision to succeed and appeal to people to not step out of their homes unless necessary. Let us first finish the 15 days and then examine the situation. We will take further decision [on extension] based on the situation at that time,” he said.

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