Maharashtra sees 8,333 new Covid cases; city records 1,035 new infections
Even as Maharashtra and Mumbai witnessed a slight drop in cases on Friday, compared to the past two days, the state is urging citizens to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour to prevent another lockdown, which could hurt the state economy badly.
The state logged 8,333 new cases, taking its tally to 2,138,154, while Mumbai’s tally touched 323,879 with 1,035 new cases. The state clocked more than 8,700 cases, while Mumbai saw more than 1,100 cases over the past two days.
Pune and Nashik cities saw a slight reduction with 765 and 220 case, respectively, while Amravati and Nagpur cities witnessed a jump in cases and reported 720 and 881 cases.
CM Uddhav Thackeray during his meetings earlier this week with local administrations, had made it clear to strictly adhere to Covid-19 protocol to avoid a second lockdown. The municipal corporations and district collectors have restricted crowding at weddings, weekly markets and have started penalizing heavily for not wearing masks at public places. Although the CM announced last Sunday that he would take a review in the next few days to decide on lockdown, the state government is expected to defer the decision for a few more days.
“We have been strictly monitoring the situation at district levels to ensure the standard operating procedure (SOP) for the pandemic is implemented rigorously, so that there is no need for a lockdown. The district administrations have been taking action for violations related to crowding and social distancing which are key to arrest the spread. The district administrations have been empowered to impose restrictions at their level. Many of them have imposed local restrictions, results are expected in the next few days,” said Sanjay Kumar, chief secretary.
After an upsurge in a few Vidarbha districts like Amravati, Akola, Yavatmal, Washim, the local administration has imposed restrictions. A seven-day lockdown in Amravati city and Achalpur town started Monday evening, while other districts have restricted shop and establishment timings. Marathwada districts, including Parbhani, Hingoli, Nanded, Latur, have imposed a night curfew and restriction on the travellers coming from the affected Vidarbha districts. Schools and colleges in all these districts have been closed for few weeks.
“Weddings and market places have been super spreaders in Vidarbha districts. We have restricted the crowding at these places. Tracing of contacts has been increased to 20 persons per infection and testing has been increased multifold. We expect the spread in five Vidarbha districts (Amravati, Akola, Washim, Buldhana, Yavatmal) to be arrested at the earliest,” said Gajendra Bawane, deputy commissioner, Amravati division.
In Aurangabad, divisional commissioner, who heads the administration of six districts in Central Maharashtra, has directed to keep their certain beds reserved for Covid-19 patients. The commissioner has also directed industrial units in Waluj and Chihkalthana industrial areas to take due precautions to ensure their employees do not spread the infection. “We have doubled the testing in the past two weeks, while process of ramping up of oxygen stock and number of beds has started. We are starting at least one Covid care centre per tehsil,” said Jagdish Miniyar, deputy commissioner, Aurangabad division.
Meanwhile, the state’s positivity rate went up to 9.69% on Friday, from 9.36% a week ago on February 19. However, it has witnessed reduction in the past two days after recording 10.89% on February 24, which was the highest daily rate in the past few weeks.
With 48 new deaths, the state’s toll stands at 52,041 and the case fatality rate at 2.43%.
The turnout for the vaccination drive improved as Friday recorded inoculation of 58,809 beneficiaries at 826 vaccination centers. At 71.19%, this has been highest ever one day turnout since the drive started on January 16. Of the total 1201096 doses given to health care and frontline workers, 661200 HCWs have taken their first dose while 158681 have taken their second shot.3,81,215 FLWs have taken their first jab. Maharashtra has 10,27,484 HCWs and 8,02,137 FLWs registered for the vaccine doses.