Doctors seen wearing protective masks as a precautionary measure amid rising coronavirus scare.(Yogendra Kumar/HT PHOTO)
Doctors seen wearing protective masks as a precautionary measure amid rising coronavirus scare.(Yogendra Kumar/HT PHOTO)

3-year-old girl is youngest coronavirus patient in Maharashtra as Covid-19 numbers rise to 39

The man, who had tested positive for coronavirus on March 14, had travelled to the US.
By HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON MAR 17, 2020 10:55 AM IST

A three-year-old girl from Kalyan has become the youngest person to be infected by the novel coronavirus in Maharashtra, which reported six news cases of Covid-19 on Monday, officials have said.

The state, which has the highest number of Covid-19 cases at 39, ordered partial shutdown as it fortified defences for the next 20 “decisive days” to fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Highlights

Maharashtra reported six new coronavirus cases on Monday

Authorities have said they will streamline the process to screen people coming from abroad

Mumbai civic body has also organised two city hotels as quarantine facilities for those who want to pay

“The 33-year-old female and three-year-old female, wife and daughter of a patient diagnosed on 14th March from Kalyan are reported positive on 16th March 2020. DDU, Thane has been informed to do contract tracing and further management,” the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s health department said in a release.

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The man, who had tested positive for coronavirus on March 14, had travelled to the US.

The novel coronavirus, first reported in Maharashtra on March 9, is in stage two in India or when there is a local transmission from imported cases (stage one) to one or more close contacts.

Authorities are on a war footing to contain the outbreak in stage three — community transmission — as is happening in Iran, Korea, United States of America (US) and many parts of Europe, with the last stage being an epidemic, which devastated China.

“The next 15-20 days are most important for the state. We will have to take all precautions. It has been observed that cases rise sharply in the second and third weeks and hence the state government doesn’t want to take any chance,” chief minister Uddhav Thackeray said after holding a review meeting with all district collectors, divisional commissioners and municipal commissioners, through video-conferencing.

He, however, reiterated that there is no need to be afraid, but that precautions are a must.

So far, the state government has isolated 794 people and 717 have tested negative. One hundred and eight people are still in isolation wards and 621 are home quarantined.

The state also released 442 people after they completed 14 days of quarantine, said health officials.

Exams postponed, hotels as quarantine facilities

The state deferred examinations in colleges and ordered all educational institutions across the state to remain shut till March 31. The government will also ask religious bodies to reduce gatherings and postpone programmes and processions.

Several religious places such as the Siddhivinayak Temple said it will remain closed for devotees till further notice.

The government has decided to stamp the back of the palms of people asked to undergo self-quarantine with indelible ink to prevent them from coming in contact with other people.

Mumbai’s civic body has ordered private establishments to work with half its workforce every day so that crowds in public transport are reduced. Around 4.4 million commuters use the suburban railway network every day to travel between home and office.

The Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) in Borivli and Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary will also be shut till the end of the month.

The government has also restricted entry of visitors to the Mantralaya, the state secretariat. It will request the state election commission to postpone all elections for next three months, including 1570 gram panchayats scheduled to go to polls on March 29.

State health authorities have said they will streamline the process to screen people coming from abroad. It has also decided to add three more places—the US, Dubai and Saudi Arabia—to a list of countries that include China, Italy, Iran, Spain, France, Germany and South Korea.

The state government is quarantining passengers from these countries if anyone is found showing symptoms of the coronavirus.

People coming from these places will be divided into three categories. ‘A’ category will be of those who show clear symptoms and they would be directly taken to isolation wards. ‘B’ category will have senior citizens with health problems who would be put in a quarantine facility. ‘C’ category will include others who do not have any symptoms but will have to undergo self-quarantine at home.

With several people complaining of poor maintenance of quarantine facilities, the Mumbai civic body has also organised the same at two city hotels — Mirage and ITC Maratha — for those who want to pay. The hotels will charge patients for staying there and the rates will be half of the regular charges.

The state government will take beds at hotels around the airport where a quarantine facility will be developed for those who don’t want to stay at the government facility. They have to bear the expenses, which will be half of the hotel rates.

“I appeal to the people to observe self-discipline and avoid going to crowded places and travel unless it’s absolutely required. We have not decided to shut public transport, restaurants and hotels yet,” Thackeray said.

“We are expecting people to do their bit as well to prevent the spread of the disease. The state government doesn’t want to enforce the law for each and everything,” he said.

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