Maharashtra Covid-19 tally crosses 60K; 8,381 recover in 24 hours
Maharashtra’s Covid-19 case tally crossed the 60,000-mark and death toll went past 2,000 on Friday, but the state also witnessed recovery of 8,381 patients, the most to be discharged in 24 hours.
The state’s recovery rate rose to 43.38% from 31.26% on Thursday, with the total of recovered patients going up to 26,997.
While the state reported 2,682 new cases, taking its tally to 62,228, the fatalities increased to 2,098 with 116 deaths recorded on Friday. Of these, according to the state health department, 46 deaths were from the past two days and the rest from the period between May 16 and May 26.
Mumbai saw its Covid-19 case count rise to 36,932 with an addition of 1,447 cases and its toll rose to 1,173 with 38 more fatalities reported on Friday.
State health minister Rajesh Tope said recovery rate improving was “a positive sign”.
“The protocol change is one of the reasons for better recovery rate. But we are sending patients home only after ensuring they have no symptoms and there is no risk of them spreading the virus as antibodies have developed after ten days of admission,” said Tope, adding that the sudden spike in the recovery numbers on Friday was also because of the addition of numbers from the past few days.
Dr Avinash Supe, former dean at King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital and a member of the expert committee appointed by the state to tackle coronavirus, said, the recovery rate had improved owing to segregation of patients and the subsequent line of treatment.
“The change in discharge protocol by ICMR is one of the reasons for the improvement… it is [similar policy] followed all over the world. Patients are discharged only after ensuring there is no risk of them spreading the virus. It’s a good sign that although cases are rising, the recovery rate has improved and even mortality rate has improved to 3.37%,” said Supe.
The state government, meanwhile, is likely to further relax lockdown curbs in red zones from Monday. During a meeting with the Cabinet secretary on Thursday, Maharashtra chief secretary Ajoy Mehta discussed the state’s exit plan from the ongoing lockdown. More commercial activities are likely to be allowed in red zones and inter-district transport activities may be permitted in non-red zones.
The state, however, is wary of the likely surge in cases after easing restrictions. Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray told district collectors and divisional commissioners to ensure that there was no surge in the cases. “We have no choice but to open up the lockdown to ensure that the state economy revives rapidly, but at the same time, our responsibility increases to ensure that the virus is chased away more aggressively,” Thackeray said.
After having allowed activities at stadiums and sports complex during the fourth phase of lockdown, the state is expected to allow jogging and exercise activities at playgrounds and stadiums from Monday. “We are of the opinion that private offices, too, should be allowed to open with 33% of their staff being present. The Centre has already allowed them to operate outside containment zones. But a final decision is yet to be taken,” said a senior government official.
The state government also hinted at a relief package to help fight the pandemic. Deputy chief minister and finance minister Ajit Pawar said, “We are facing a different sort of crisis and we also have to find a way out of this. The state government will soon declare a financial package for the people. The decision will be taken by the state cabinet.”
Pawar also commented on the Rs21-lakh-crore package declared by the Centre. “There are many opinions about actual amount that the people will get… A view is that the daily wagers should also be considered in the package, as they earn money on a daily basis,” he said.
Pawar said local people should come forward to take over the jobs in industries after an exodus of migrant workers from the state. “Migrant workers have gone back to their native places. I’m of the opinion that people from the state, especially from backward areas, should come forward to replace them. The state is also ready to provide them with the necessary training,” he said.
The finance minister also admitted that the reverse migration from cities to rural areas has led to rise in Covid-19 cases in districts. “The central, state and local administrations are fighting the battle… It is also a fact that cases have increased in rural areas after people migrated from urban areas. But there is no need to worry if everyone takes all precautions,” Pawar said.