After recording more than 6,000 new Covid-19 cases for the last four days, with the highest detected on July 4 at 7,074, Maharashtra recorded a slight dip in the number of fresh infections on Monday. With 5,368 cases reported, the total infection count in the state now stands at 2,11,987. Health officials attributed the fall to an overall dip in testing numbers usually observed during weekends.
With 204 deaths registered on Monday, 9,026 people have died due to the virus in the state. While Maharashtra has reported the highest number of Covid-19 cases, followed by Tamil Nadu and Delhi, it comes second in the list of highest mortality rate (4.27 per cent) after Gujarat (5.39 per cent).
Mumbai, meanwhile, registered 1,200 new cases, taking its patient count to 85,724. The city’s toll increased to 4,938 with 39 people succumbing to the virus on Monday.
Of the 204 deaths recorded in Maharashtra, while Mumbai accounted for 39, Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) accounted for 96 deaths. Among others, Nashik and Pune recorded 13 each and Jalgaon 12. Jalgaon district has a mortality rate of 6.9 per cent, higher than Mumbai and Pune, which account for maximum cases and deaths in the state.
On Monday, Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope announced that Maharashtra will try to bring in price capping for masks and sanitisers within eight days. “Masks and sanitisers are also essential along with following social distancing norms. Nobody should sell these items at inflated rates. We have discussed this with FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and the chief minister. In the next eight days, we will issue a notification for capping prices,” he added.
The FDA, however, maintained that price capping is not possible under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act without amending the central act.
“The central government has notified that Rs 50 should be charged for 100 ml of sanitiser and Rs 100 for 200 ml. A 2-ply and 3-ply mask cannot cost more than Rs 10 to Rs 12. The government will have to issue notification under the Epidemic Act if it wants to cap prices,” said D R Gahane, Joint Commissioner (Drugs), FDA. He added that prices of N-95 masks are also yet to be capped.
The state’s upward curve in Covid-19 cases became steep since June last week when around 5,000 cases started being recorded every day. The MMR alone accounts for 28,508 active cases — 33 per cent of active case load in Maharashtra.
Tope said a sero surveillance conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research in May had shown that more than 30 per cent people in Mumbai had tested positive for antibodies against Covid-19, indicating high viral transmission. “Elsewhere in India, the percentage was less than 1 per cent. To understand this further, we have asked districts to conduct sero surveys,” he added.
The state has also created a task force for each district, on recommendation of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, to reduce the number of Covid-19 deaths. The task force will have to analyse deaths and advise measures to reduce mortality in districts. Mumbai was the first to establish such a task force to reduce spike in deaths, followed by Pune.
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