Nagpur, Amravati impose Covid-19 curbs again
The number of Covid-19 cases in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), Pune, Nashik, Nagpur and Amravati, which accounted for a larger share of the state’s daily caseload during the peak of the pandemic, has been witnessing a steady spike over the past few days.
Now, the local administrations in these cities have ordered its citizens to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour, even as Nagpur and Amravati have started imposing restrictions on gatherings and postponing the reopening of educational institutions in order to contain the spread. For a fourth consecutive day on Saturday, Maharashtra reported more than 3,000 fresh infections and Mumbai saw more than 500 cases, a mark which had not been breached for at least two weeks. With the addition of 3,611 new cases and 38 deaths, the state’s case tally touched 2,060,186 and the toll went up to 51,489.
Mumbai’s tally after 529 cases were reported on Saturday stood at 313,431, while the death toll touched 11,415 with six more deaths.
Cases in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), including Mumbai, cities like Nagpur, Nashik and Pune, have witnessed a spurt in cases over the past ten days. Daily caseload of MMR touched 1,016 on February 12, up from 627 on February 2, while in Mumbai it was 599, up from 334. The rise in these ten days in Pune (266 from 188), Nashik (158 from 61) and Nagpur (392 from 161), too, was sharp.
Pune, Nashik and Nagpur city reported 342, 143 and 436 new cases respectively. Positivity rate rose to 6.76% on Saturday as 3,611 cases found positive from 53,410 tests. State’s case fatality rate stands at 2.5%.
“We have deferred the opening of schools and colleges to February 28, from the earlier plan of opening them from February 15. The restrictions on social, cultural gatherings and wedding ceremonies have been imposed again amid the rise in the cases. We have formed special squads for the tracing of contacts and their testing and also for the strict implementation of the Covid-appropriate behaviour. A few samples have been sent to National Institute of Virology for genome sequencing,” said Shelesh Nawal, Amravati collector.
The Nagpur commissionerate too has put restrictions on gatherings and has increased the number of tests. Nagpur municipal commissioner Radhakrishan B said after they found huge gatherings at the wedding ceremonies, they have started taking action over violation of the government orders. “We have also identified 8-10 areas with high number of cases and have been aggressively tracing contacts. We are focusing on superspreaders such as vegetable, milk venders and domestic helps via regular check-ups and testing to contain the spread,” he said.
State health minister Rajesh Tope said although cases in some districts and corporation areas are on the rise, the situation is totally under control. “Districts and corporations with high cases have been instructed to get their act together and increase testing by aggressively tracing the contacts. The testing has to be increased where positivity rate is high. There would not be any lockdown, but the people will have to continue following protocol by wearing masks and maintaining social distancing,” he said.
“The rise in cases is majorly because of the unlocking of activities, including schools-colleges, along with local trains, that have contributed to the spurt in the cases. Hundreds of people crowd at wedding ceremonies and cultural-political functions violating the norms of the lockdown,” said an official from the state health department.
Meanwhile, the percentage of daily vaccination beneficiaries dropped to 46.21%, as 31,976 healthcare and frontline workers were inoculated at 692 vaccination centres. A day before, 40,000 or 50.25% beneficiaries of the daily target were vaccinated on Friday. The number of healthcare workers (HCWs) to be inoculated against the frontline workers was too low as 18,686 frontline workers and 13,290 HCWs were vaccinated on Saturday.
Maharashtra has 1,054,822 HCWs and 691,222 frontline workers registered for the vaccination on CoWIN app. Of them 5,49,105 HCWs and 133,899 frontline workers have been vaccinated. Mumbai saw the highest number, 6,482, beneficiaries taking their shots, followed by Thane (3,655), Pune (3,266) on Saturday.
The state government has announced it will begin giving the second dose for HCWs from Monday.