Maharashtra records over 25,000 Covid cases again
With 25,681 cases, Maharashtra reported more than 25,000 cases for the second day in a row on Friday, even as Mumbai recorded its highest spike with 3,063 new cases. Mumbai has never seen more than 3,000 cases reported in a day since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
The state’s Covid-19 cases tally reached 2,422,021 on Friday, while the toll went up to 53,208 with 70 more deaths. Mumbai recorded 10 deaths, taking the fatalities to 11,569. The state has 177,560 active cases, with the highest in Pune (37,384), followed by Nagpur (25,861), Mumbai (18,850) and Thane (16,735). In terms of daily cases, the Mumbai circle reported the most cases (5,737), followed by Pune circle with 5,472 cases.
A day after Maharashtra recorded the sharpest one-day spike, the state issued a fresh notification asking private offices to function at 50% capacity and drama theatres and auditoriums in the state to also function at 50% capacity, while adhering to protocols. While it has allowed the manufacturing sector to function at 100% attendance, the sector has also been asked to adhere to protocols. The state on Thursday recorded 25,833 cases, its highest spike since March 2020. The state, in its order, has said that non-compliance of the order by drama theatres, auditoriums, and the manufacturing sector will result in these institutions having to be “closed for a period until Covid-19 pandemic stays notified as a disaster by the Central government”.
The order also stated that drama halls, auditoriums shall not be utilised for any religious, social, political or cultural gatherings.
Aseem Gupta, principal secretary, relief and rehabilitation, state government, said while the 50% rule existed, the state wanted to reiterate its stance and also emphasise on the stringent punishment in case of non-compliance. “We are not being very stringent in terms of imposing new rules, but we will be stringent in terms of implementation of these rules and punishment,” Gupta said. He also said that when the government released an order regarding theatres on March 15, there was confusion regarding compliance by drama halls.
In its order, the state has directed the government and semi-government office heads to take a decision regarding attendance and ensure Covid-19 protocol are followed. In the private sector, except health, essential services, and manufacturing sector, all offices have been asked to adhere to the 50% rule. For drama halls, the state has also stated that any violation of the order would attract huge penalties.
The order states: “The above measures will remain in force till March 31, 2021, for containment of Covid19 epidemic in the state and all departments of the government of Maharashtra shall strictly implement these guidelines.”
On Friday, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) made Covid-19 test report (RT-PCR) mandatory for people entering shopping malls in the city. According to reports, the new rules will come into effect from March 22, next Monday. If people are not carrying a negative report, they will be tested (rapid antigen) at the entrance. Apart from malls, the civic authorities will be conducting rapid antigen tests at other crowded places in the city too.
In the past two days, the state has reported over 50,000 cases with the state government, admitting that Maharashtra is in the middle of a second Covid-19 wave.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, the state vaccinated 200,718 citizens across 2,294 centres. These included 118,414 senior citizens above the age of 60 years and 30,307 citizens above the age of 45 with comorbidities. While 10,217 health workers and 16,848 frontline workers got the first dose of the vaccine, 9,044 healthcare workers and 15,888 frontline workers got the second dose of the vaccine.
Till date, 3,840,707 citizens, including health and frontline workers have been vaccinated in Maharashtra, as per official data.