NAGPUR, Maharashtra: India’s richest state, Maharashtra, has become the first state to report more than 1000 cases of people affected with novel coronavirus and the “hotspots” Pune and state capital Mumbai are likely to remain under an extended lockdown even after 14 April.
The count of people infected by the novel coronavirus has almost doubled in the past five days in the state, which is leading the tally in India.
Maharashtra reported 1018 cases of coronavirus until Wednesday morning, out of which 64 people have died and 79 people have been discharged after treatment.
As hundreds of people, from police officers in Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s security detail to doctors in Mumbai’s well-known hospitals wait for their test results, it’s likely that the numbers will only race upwards.
Four hospitals and some localities in Mumbai have been sealed as the city reported 642 cases of COVID-19 till Wednesday morning.
Of the 150 new cases that were reported on Tuesday, 116 were from Mumbai and 18 from Pune.
On Monday evening, the government also received a jolt after a tea vendor near CM Thackeray’s residence tested positive for COVID-19. Over 170 cops, some of whom were in the chief minister’s security team, had to be shifted as they used to visit the stall.
All the regions of the state—Vidarbha, Marathwada, Konkan, Western Maharashtra and North Maharashtra—have reported COVID-19 cases, which has prompted the state government to do a rethink on whether to lift the lockdown in the state on April 14 even if nationwide restrictions are relaxed.
“Don’t expect that lockdown will be completely lifted on April 15. There is a set protocol and process to lift a lockdown. There are guidelines by the WHO... The situation will be minutely analysed between April 10 to 14 and then a decision will be taken. We will have to take extra care, especially in areas like Mumbai and Pune where more cases have been reported,” Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope said in his daily briefing on Monday.
Despite state authorities still denying community transmission, the state is looking at a grim picture especially in Mumbai, as authorities grapple with the implications of an outbreak in major hospitals and Dharavi, Asia’s largest slum, where population density is 270,000 per square kilometer.
At the time of writing this report, Dharavi had reported seven coronavirus cases including one death. A residential complex, where over 2,500 people stay, in the slum has been sealed.
One of the four sealed hospitals in Mumbai, the Wockhardt hospital alone, has reported 52 cases of Covid-19, most of the health workers.
Mumbai has already reported 40 deaths due to Coronvirus out of which 12 deaths were reported in last 24 hours.
According to a report released by the state government on Tuesday morning, the mortality rate due to coronavirus in Maharashtra is 5.98 % much higher than India’s overall mortality rate of 2.66%. It is even higher than the global mortality rate of 5.58%.