Maharashtra’s daily fresh case tally has remained stagnant over the last one month between 3,000 and 4,000 cases a day. On Thursday, the state recorded 3,729 new coronavirus infections, taking the total count to 19.58 lakh. Going by this trend, by the third week of this month, the state is slated to cross 20 lakh Covid-19 cases.
At least three more cases of B.1.1.7 lineage, the mutated virus responsible for latest surge in Covid-19 cases in the United Kingdom, were found in Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation area on Thursday. The B.1.1.7 lineage is a mutation in the coronavirus that allows it to have 70 times more transmissibility than the original virus. It was first reported by Britain.
Maharashtra has recorded 11 cases of the mutated variant till now. All 11 have had no symptoms. One, a resident of Pune, and second, a Mumbai resident, have been discharged from hospital after completing 14 days of isolation while the other nine remain under institutional isolation.
State officials said they have screened 4,858 passengers who flew in from UK since November 25 and tested 3,476 of them. So far, 75 have tested positive. The state health department has undertaken contact tracing of all 75 passengers and tested 341 of their close contacts. Till now, 30 contacts have tested positive but not every one is infected with the mutated strain.
State epidemiologist Dr Pradeep Awate said samples of 93 people have been sent for genome sequencing in the National Institute of Virology, Pune, and 11 have tested positive for the mutated variant. Of them, five are from Mumbai, one from Pune, one Thane, one Mira Bhayander and three from Pimpri-Chinchwad.
On Thursday, the state noted deaths of 72 people due to Covid-19, taking the toll to 49,897. Deaths due to the virus are also set to cross the 50,000 mark by this weekend. Even as Maharashtra is going to touch a worrying landmark in its case and death count— the highest in India— its active cases are on a steady decline: from 75,767 a month ago to 54,891 a fortnight ago to 51,111 active infections on Thursday. State officials said the total active cases rose slightly post new year but have again started declining.
Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur are the only corporations that continue to record more than 300 new cases daily. On Thursday, Mumbai recorded 665 fresh cases, Pune 394 and Nagpur 465. Mumbai has touched 2.96 lakh cases with 11,162 deaths, Pune has recorded 1.93 lakh cases with 4,427 deaths and Nagpur 1.14 lakh cases with 2,550 deaths.
In Mumbai’s Dharavi, the active case load has been rising slowly over the last 10 days. On Thursday, there were 26 active infections in the slum settlement, up from 13 on December 26. Several migrant labourers have also started returning from their villages to the slum for employment. Across Mumbai, 2.77 lakh have recovered from the infection taking recovery rate to 93 per cent.
There are 211 containment zones in slums and 2,541 in residential buildings.
On Friday, Maharashtra will hold a dry run in all districts covering at least 130 centres to monitor how the vaccination rollout will pan out. Each district will have three vaccination centres and each municipal corporation will hold its own vaccination mock drill. In each centre, 25 beneficiaries will undergo a mock vaccination exercise. The process is to detect logistics issues, if any, and find solutions. State Health Minister Rajesh Tope said each vaccination centre will have a team of five health officials to oversee the process.
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