Maharashtra Covid spike: Crowded public transport, polls to blame, says Centre
The recent surge of Covid-19 cases in Maharashtra is due to many reasons including crowding at public transport, recent gram panchayat elections, the Centre has said in its report probing the sudden spike in fresh infections in the state, which started from February. The rise is not specific to any region, though it started with the Vidarbha region. The Centre had sent a team to Maharashtra and in other states which are seeing the abnormal spike after the situation hit a plateau in the state.
Mutation of Covid-19 was initially thought to be a reason in case a particular mutation is more contagious, but the Centre earlier said that there is no scientific link between the two as some of these mutations have been present in the country since 2020 and mutations are only natural.
A team of experts comprising joint secretary of health ministry Nipun Vinayak, National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) deputy director Sanket Kulkarni and National Institute of TB and Respiratory Diseases professor Ashish Ranjan, visited the state on March 1 and 2 and have zeroed in on a few reasons.
"While the exact causes of the surge are not known— since laxity in Covid-19 behaviour is not specific to the state — the possible factors are Covid-inappropriate behaviour due to lack of fear of disease, pandemic fatigue; miss outs and super spreaders; and enhanced aggregations due to recent gram panchayat elections, marriage season and opening of schools, crowded public transport, etc.," according to a report shared by the government.
Watch: ‘Covid vaccination done for free at govt hospitals in India’: PM Modi
In the face of a fresh threat from a second Covid-19, several districts in Maharashtra have imposed restrictions by shutting schools, bringing back night curfews and choosing brief local lockdowns. Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has said he is not in favour of a lockdown in the state again.
In its report, the contribution of the resumption of Mumbai local trains behind the rise has not been separately pointed out as the report pertains to the overall rise in Covid-19 cases in the state, but it mentions crowded public transport as one of the reasons. So are gram panchayat elections in the state. In January, elections were held in 12,711 gram panchayat spread across 34 districts in Maharashtra.
"Don't let the guard down. Stay to basics of surveillance, contact tracing and testing. Micro plan and ensure strict compliance of protocols. Strengthen teams to ensure meticulous home quarantine, do focused testing of 100 per cent population in hotspot areas repeated at five days, and isolate positives to check spread,” it said.
(With PTI Inputs)