Updated: June 26, 2021 10:07:43 am
Maharashtra on Friday reported the first death due to the Delta Plus variant of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. An 80-year-old woman with comorbidities from Ratnagiri district succumbed to the infection, said health minister Rajesh Tope.
With Delta and Delta Plus variants ‘fuelling the potentiality of the imminent third wave,’ the Maharashtra government has decided to impose stricter restrictions.
In a statement, the state government said that the Delta Plus variant has become a variant of concern (VOC) because of its characteristics including increased transmissibility, stronger binding to receptors of lung cell, and potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response. Hence all administrative units, will be placed under a minimum of level 3 restrictions, irrespective of weekly positivity rate and oxygen bed occupancy, it added.
Under level 3 restrictions, all shops and stores will be allowed to function only till 4 pm. Malls, theatres, and multiplexes will remain closed. Restaurants will be allowed to operate at 50 percent seating capacity till 4 pm and post 4 pm, only takeaway and parcel services will be allowed.
Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray tweeted the ‘levels of restrictions for safe Maharashtra’.
Levels of restrictions for safe Maharashtra pic.twitter.com/FOAKTSrI9A
— CMO Maharashtra (@CMOMaharashtra) June 25, 2021
Also, RT-PCR tests will be considered as the criteria for level determination. The government has also decided to ramp up vaccination against Covid-19 in the state.
According to the fresh guidelines:
State Level Triggers: All the administrative units, irrespective of the values of the indices of weekly positivity rate and oxygen bed occupancy percentage will remain at a level not below 3 till the order is withdrawn by State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA).
Weekly Positivity Rate: For decisions regarding levels of restrictions to be applied, the weekly positivity rate must be determined only on the basis of RT-PCR tests and not RAT or other tests.
Declaration Process for Levels of Restrictions to be followed by DDMA: District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) will take data from Public Health Department and decide the level of restrictions that may be followed in various administrative units under their jurisdiction subject to state level triggers. DDMA may decide to impose higher restrictions or further restrictions without prior permission of SDMA.
Two Weeks’ Trend: While coming down onto a lower level, DDMA shall look into two weeks’ trend before accepting lower level of restrictions. When there is an upward trend in the number of positive cases being identified daily and requiring a higher level of restrictions than the current one, DDMA however shall do so without waiting for two weeks’ trends.
Special Actions: DDMA shall take following special actions in addition to ensure ease of restrictions do not lead to spread of Covid-19:
- Push vaccination through public awareness activities. Goal must be to achieve vaccination at least 70 percent of the eligible population at the earliest. Encourage workplace vaccinations especially of blue collar workers.
- Push the Test-Track-Treat methodology to contain the spread.
- Enforce on establishments to ensure safe workspaces with proper air ventilation norms
- Carry out a large number of tests – the percentage of RT-PCR tests must be as expected by the Public Health Department.
- Impose fines on violators of Covid Appropriate Behaviour.
- Avoid events, functions, activities that lead to crowding, congregation, gathering.
- Declare containment zones judiciously.
- Make flying squads for enforcement o CAB, especially to check high incidence events like marriages and establishments like restaurants, malls etc.
According to the health ministry, 48 Delta Plus variant Covid-19 cases have been detected from the 45,000 samples sequenced so far in the country. The cases were identified in 10 states with Maharashtra reporting the maximum cases (20).
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