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Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Maharashtra Coronavirus Highlights: State reports 18,105 cases, highest 1-day spike, tally 8,43,844

Maharashtra Coronavirus News Highlights: In some good news for Mumbai, there is a progressive decline in the monthly growth rate of new Covid-19 cases in the city, which for August stands at 27.5 per cent.

By: Express Web Desk | Mumbai, Pune | Updated: September 4, 2020 8:29:31 am
Police Checking and barricades on Jangli Maharaj road in Pune. (Express photo)

Maharashtra on Thursday  reported 18,105 new COVID-19 cases, the highest single-day count so far, taking its tally to 8,43,844, while the death toll crossed the was recorded as 25,586.

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In some good news for Mumbai, there is a progressive decline in the monthly growth rate of new Covid-19 cases in the city, which for August stands at 27.5 per cent. For the preceding months of July and June, the growth rate for Mumbai was 47 per cent and 95.6 per cent respectively. On Wednesday, however, Mumbai saw an unusual spike with 1,622 fresh Covid cases recorded by BMC. From August 28 till September 1, less than 1,500 cases had been recorded daily. Meanwhile, Pune, which has the most number of active cases in the country, reported 1,706 fresh cases along with 28 deaths, pushing up the infection count to 1,04,555 and the toll to 2,607.

Mumbai witnessed an expected surge in vehicular traffic as private offices opened up to 30 per cent of their capacity and inter-district travel norms were eased under the fourth phase of relaxation from the Covid-19 lockdown, which came into effect from Wednesday. In line with the Centre’s Unlock 4.0 guidelines, Maharashtra has eased restrictions on a number of activities. This includes allowing inter-district movement of persons and goods, raising attendance in offices and allowing hotels and lodges to operation at 100 per cent capacity. Schools and colleges will remain closed across the state. Local trains and metro services also remain suspended.

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Maharashtra, Mumbai, Pune, Thane Coronavirus News Highlights: Over 8 lakh cases, and nearly 25,000 deaths; Uddhav Thackeray govt eases restrictions under Unlock 4.0.

22:28 (IST)03 Sep 2020
Civic bus service in Pune to restart with 25 pc fleet

The civic bus service in Pune has resumed after five months, albeit with 25 per cent of the fleet, a senior official said on Thursday. The Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) has started its services, which were shut down in March after the outbreak of coronavirus, he said.

"We begin the bus service after five months with 25 percent of the total fleet on 190 routes in the city," said Rajendra Jagtap, Chairman and Managing Director, PMPPML. Another official from PMPML said that the buses which were pressed into the servicewere sanitised.

"Pedal-operated sanitizer stands, cross-marking on the seats (which will be left vacant), plastic partitioned driver's cabin are some of the measures we have taken to keep coronavirus at bay," he said. 'Further, those above 65 years or below 10 years would not be allowed to board the bus.

21:14 (IST)03 Sep 2020
Profiteering mask, sanitizer manufacturers to face action: Health Minister

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Thursday that some mask and sanitizer manufacturers are selling their products with too high a mark-up, and will soon face action. "The production cost of N-95 mask is Rs 18 per unit, but some manufacturers are selling them for around Rs 200," the minister told reporters.

"This is too much profiteering. They will soon face legal action from the state government. They can surely make reasonable profit, but not so much," he said. Speaking about allegations that health infrastructure in Pune city is failing to cope with the coronavirus situation, Tope said, "I had been told that by August 31 there would be 20,879 beds without oxygen, some 4,000 beds with oxygen and 927 ICU beds. With addition of 100 ventilators, the number of ventilators in the district is now 629."

20:52 (IST)03 Sep 2020
Nagpur records 1,727 new COVID-19 cases; 45 deaths

As many as 1,727 persons tested positive for coronavirus, while 45 patients succumbed to the infection in Maharashtra's Nagpur district on Thursday, an official said.

With the addition of 1,727 fresh cases, the district's COVID-19 tally has reached 34,432, the official said. Moreover, the latest casualties have taken the toll in the region to 1,177, of which 895 were from Nagpur and the remaining were from rural areas and outside the district, he said.

At least, 1,226 patients were discharged from hospitals on Thursday, raising the number of recoveries to 22,882, the official said. The district now has 10,373 active cases, he added.

17:06 (IST)03 Sep 2020
Exercising caution on reopening places of worship: Maha CM

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday said even though there have been demands to reopen temples and other places of worship as part of the 'Unlock' process, his government is exercising caution on the issue. Thackerays comments came in the wake of demands from the main opposition BJP and other parties that places of worship be re-opened since coronavirus-enforced restrictions are being eased under the "Unlock" process.

Last week, the BJP had organised a 'Ghanta Naad (ringing of bells) programme as part of its protest against the government for not opening places of worship for public. The All India Majlis-e- Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) and the Prakash Ambedkar-led Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) have also been pushing for reopening of shrines.

"As part of the Unlock process, we have restarted manyactivities. There are demandsfor opening of temples and other places of worship. But we have to exercise caution," the chief minister said.

16:16 (IST)03 Sep 2020
BJP using COVID-19 as excuse to cancel Question Hour: NCP

The NCP on Thursday accused the BJP of using the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to cancel the Question Hour in the forthcoming monsoon session of Parliament to "hide its failures" on multiple fronts. The NCP also called for using other electronic means to let parliamentarians question the Centre. "The BJP is using the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to cancel the Question Hour in the monsoon session of Parliament to hide its failures on multiple fronts," NCP spokesperson Mahesh Tapase alleged.

"The BJP should use other electronic media to enable the MPs to question the government," he added. Another NCP spokesperson Clyde Crasto took a dig at the NDA constituent through his cartoon. In the cartoon, a man with the BJP's poll symbol 'lotus' in place of his head can be seen running away from a question mark. "No Question Hour in Parliament. You can run. You can't hide," reads the caption of the cartoon.

According to the notifications issued by the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha secretariats, there will be no Question Hour and private members' bills will not be taken up in the upcoming monsoon session of Parliament, while the Zero Hour will be restricted.

14:19 (IST)03 Sep 2020
Pune: Masks on & new rules in place, PMPML resume services after 5 months

Gearing up to resume the bus service in the city, the PMPML has put the onus on conductors to ensure that no suspected Covid-19 patient is allowed to board the bus and no passenger is allowed entry without a mask. In the standard operating procedure (SOP) declared for restarting the bus service, which has been halted for five months, Managing Director Rajendra Jagtap said each PMPML bus will ply with half its passenger capacity — 20 passengers, 17 sitting and three standing — at a time.

The passengers will sit in a zig-zag manner on alternate seats, he said. “If a suspected patient tried to board the bus, then a request should be made to that person not to get on the bus, and if need be, contact the emergency numbers of PMPML, PMC, PCMC and the district collectorate for further action.”

13:35 (IST)03 Sep 2020
Thane COVID-19 tally crosses 1.26 lakh

The COVID-19 tally in Thane crossed 1.26 lakh on Thursday after detection of 1,487 new COVID-19 cases in the Maharashtra district, officials said. Besides, in neighbouring Palghar district, the total number of COVID-19 cases crossed the 25,000-mark, they said. In Thane, 1,487 people tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday, taking the total number of cases in the district to 1,26,839, an official from the district collectorate said. Beside, the number of deaths in Thane rose to 3,614 as 37 more patients succumbed to the viral disease, he said. As of now, there are 12,881 active COVID-19 cases in the district while 1,10,344 patients have recovered, he said. The recovery rate in the district was 87 per cent and the mortality rate stood at 2.85 per cent.

12:40 (IST)03 Sep 2020
Bombay HC permits Parsis to offer annual prayers with restrictions

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday allowed Parsis to hold prayers on Farvardegan at Doongerwadi, Malabar Hill, which houses the Tower of Silence, with strict conditions and by following Covid-19 protocols. The court said not more than 200 people will be allowed throughout the day on September 3 and not more than six persons from the community and two priests for five pavilions, measuring 600 to 800 sq ft, will be allowed per hour between 7 am and 4.30 pm. A division bench of Justice R D Dhanuka and Justice Madhav J Jamdar passed an order in response to a plea filed by Viraf Mehta, trustee of Bombay Parsi Panchayat (BPP), through advocate Prakash Shah seeking permission to hold annual prayers for the dead at Doongerwadi in Mumbai. Shah referred to the Supreme Court order that allowed the reopening of three Jain temples in Mumbai for the Paryushan period and said Parsis in Mumbai should also be allowed to hold annual prayers for the dead on September 3.

11:38 (IST)03 Sep 2020
Mumbai: Ganeshotsav idol immersions dip by 32%, lower noise levels recorded this year

The number of idol immersions in Mumbai dipped by 32 per cent compared to last year, as Ganeshotsav ended on Tuesday. The civic body recorded 1.35 lakh immersions, out of which 70,233 idols were immersed in artificial lakes, a two-fold increase from last year. Last year, 1.96 lakh immersions were recorded, out of which 33,925 idols were immersed in artificial lakes. The civic body set up 168 artificial ponds across the city, five times more than last year. In addition, there were 37 mobile immersion sites. Muted celebrations and no processions – due to the Covid-19 pandemic – also led to a dip in noise levels during Ganesha festival, according to NGO Awaaz Foundation, which advocates against noise pollution in the city.

10:46 (IST)03 Sep 2020
BMC sets up two eco-friendly furnaces at Sion crematorium

The Mumbai civic body has commissioned two eco-friendly furnaces at a cost of Rs 98.88 lakh at a crematorium in Sion area which use less fuel and time and generate lesser smoke during cremation as compared to the conventional furnaces. These environment-friendly furnaces operate with 100 to 125 kg wood instead of the normally required 350 to 400 kg and take less than two hours than the usual four hours for cremation, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said in a release. Smoke generated during combustion in this system is released through a90 to 100 feet high chimney. The smoke passes through a water scrubber, helping in controlling the amount of smoke particles and carbon dioxide released in the air, it said.

09:34 (IST)03 Sep 2020
October exams for class 10, 12 postponed in Maharashtra

The examination for those who fail the Class X and XII examinations of the state board, which is generally held in October, will be deferred this year, said Maharashtra School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad. "Given the COVID-19 situation, we have decided to postpone the examinations," she told reporters here on Wednesday. Asked when these exams would be conducted, the minister said the decision will be taken considering the prevailing situation in November or December

08:36 (IST)03 Sep 2020
Sassoon Hospital directed to shift 70 ventilators to jumbo facility at CoEP

In a move that has raised eyebrows, the Sassoon General Hospital has been asked to temporarily shift 70 ventilators to the jumbo Covid-19 treatment facility at the College of Engineering Pune (CoEP). On Wednesday, authorities at the largest government-run hospital in the state confirmed that they were able to shift 30 ventilators to the jumbo facility.

A week since the facility was set up and inaugurated at CoEP, there have been 27 deaths there, which, doctors have said, were of patients who were admitted at a critical stage.

A district task force of senior doctors, which visited the site, strongly recommended a change in the protocol for admitting Covid patients, which was “unnecessarily lengthy”.

19:47 (IST)02 Sep 2020
Maha health minister blames rich patients for hogging ICU beds

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Wednesday said that "rich people" are occupying ICU beds in hospitals even when they do not have any symptoms of the coronavirus infection. He was speaking about the death of a Marathi news-channel journalist due to COVID-19. "Rich people without any symptoms of COVID-19 infection have occupied beds in ICUs. "The infection is spreading in rural areas. Some 80 per cent people who have tested positive are asymptomatic. But if some rich people are occupying the beds without having any infection or symptoms, then such practice should be stopped immediately," said Tope. The 42-year-old journalist who died in Pune on Wednesday did not get a cardiac ambulance in time, his kin have alleged. Asked about shortages of hospital beds and ambulances, the minister said, "There have been clear instructions to collectors to requisition private ambulances and use them. I will find out the details of the journalist's death."

19:43 (IST)02 Sep 2020
COVID-19: Nagpur reports highest one-day spike of 1,703 cases

Nagpur district in Maharashtra reported its highest single-day spike of 1,703 COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, which pushed its overall count of patients to 32,705, the authorities said on Wednesday. With the virus claiming 41 lives during this period, the death toll in the district rose to 1,132, the district information office said in statement. Of the total number of deceased, 859 were from Nagpur city, it added. So far, 21,656 patients have recovered from the infection, including 1,059 who were discharged on Wednesday. The number of active cases in the district is 9,917,

14:37 (IST)02 Sep 2020
Palghar nears 25,000 Covid-19 cases

Palghar district has reported 24,725 cases of the novel coronavirus, and 511 deaths. It is soon likely to breach the 25,000 mark.

14:23 (IST)02 Sep 2020
Thane coronavirus news: Tally crosses 1.25 lakh

The number of Covid-19 cases in Thane breached the 1.25 lakh mark on Tuesday after 1,175 new infections were detected in the region. Now, there are 1,25,352 cases in the district, including 12,515 active cases, 1,09,260 recoveries and 3,577 deaths. The Covid-19 recovery rate in Thane is 87.16 per cent and the mortality rate is 2.85 per cent, reported PTI.

13:54 (IST)02 Sep 2020
Pune: Journalist dies of Covid-19, kin alleges delay in treatment

A Pune-based journalist with TV9 news channel died of Covid-19 today after a private hospital in Ahmednagar allegedly delayed his treatment over advance payment. Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar has ordered a probe in to the journalist's death. Pandurang Raikar, 42, was brought to Pune’s Jumbo Hospital at COEP from Ahmendgar on Tuesday evening. He passed away early Wednesday morning after his saturation level dipped drastically. Raikar, a journalist for 14 years, is survived by his wife and two children. Manoj Dattatrye More reports

12:44 (IST)02 Sep 2020
State-wise break down of India's coronaivrus cases

Here are the top 10 states in India, and their Covid-19 numbers. The daily number of new cases in India jumped to over 78,000 on Tuesday, in line with what was being detected for five days before Monday’s dip. The death count crossed 66,000.

11:14 (IST)02 Sep 2020
India considers extending MGNREGA to cities
Source: Bloomberg

The Centre is mulling extending the MGNREGA, the world's biggest jobs programme, to urban areas due to the Covid-19 pandemic that has rendered millions unemployed. “The government has been considering this idea since last year... the pandemic gave a push to this discussion,” Sanjay Kumar, a joint secretary in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, was quoted as saying by Bloomberg. Read more here

10:34 (IST)02 Sep 2020
Covid-19 vaccine tracker: The latest developments on coronavirus vaccines

Hunt for coronavirus vaccine: The story so far

  • More than 175 vaccine candidates in pre-clinical or clinical trials
  • 33 of them in clinical trials
  • Eight in final stages, phase-III of human trials
  • At least eight candidate vaccines being developed in India. Two of these have entered phase -II trials after completing phase-I

Read more here

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In its Unlock 4.0 guidelines, the Maharashtra government has announced significantly eased restrictions, including allowing inter-district movement of persons and goods, raising attendance in its offices and allowing hotels and lodges to operate at 100 per cent capacity. Schools and colleges, however, will remain closed. Cinema halls and swimming pools will also continue to remain shut till September 30.

All non-essential shops will be allowed to continue as per relaxations and guidelines issued from time to time. Liquor shops will continue to operate.

All private offices may operate up to 30% strength as per requirement. However, all the employers will take sensitization programs to educate the employees to take adequate precautions on returning home so that vulnerable group especially the elderly is not affected. A Vigilance Officer will be appointed in every office for ensuring the norms like social distancing, face coverings, etc. to avoid the spread of Covid-19. Staggering of office timings should be encouraged and only work related movement will be allowed.

International air travel of passengers will not be allowed, except as permitted by MHA. The metro will also remain closed.

Social, political, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural, religious functions and other large congregations will be barred.

Read | Maharashtra Unlock 4.0 Guidelines: What’s allowed, and what’s not

National Directives for Covid-19 management

1) Face coverings — wearing of face cover is compulsory in public places, in work places and during transport.

2) Social distancing — Individuals must maintain a minimum distance of 6 feet (2 Gaz Ki doori) in public places. Shops will ensure physical distancing among customers and will not allow more than five persons at one time.

3) Gatherings — large public gatherings / congregations continue to remain prohibited. Marriage related Gatherings — Number of guests not to exceed 50. Funeral / last rites related Gatherings — Number of persons not to exceed 20.

4) Spitting in public places will be punishable with fine, as may be prescribed by the concerned authority in accordance with its laws, rules or regulations.

5) Consumption of liquor, Paan, gutka, tobacco, etc in public places is prohibited.