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Relaxations likely in 25 districts with weekly positivity rate lower than state average: Rajesh Tope

Maharashtra unlockdown rules: Satara, Pune, Kolhapur top list of districts with weekly Covid-19 positivity rate higher than the average in Maharashtra

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune |
Updated: July 29, 2021 11:41:40 am
Huge number of beneficiaries line up for their first dose of Covid vaccine at Oyster and Pearl Hospital in Shivajinagar, Pune. (Express Photo)

The state government could consider allowing some relaxations in 25 districts whose weekly Covid-19 positivity rate is less than the state average, Rajesh Tope, state health minister, told mediapersons on Wednesday.

However, districts such as Satara, Pune and Kolhapur are unlikely to be considered for exemption for now as they top the list of the 10 districts in Maharashtra with a weekly positivity rate much higher than the state average.

A final decision in the regard will be taken by Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray. “We are actively considering allowing certain relaxation in the rules so that restaurants and gyms where the staff is fully vaccinated can be opened up in these 25 districts. However, such a move will not be immediately considered in the remaining districts,” Tope said.

According to the new analysis by the state health department, the weekly Covid positivity rate at Satara was at 8.03% in the week July 21-27, higher than the 6.88 per cent recorded in the week before that. The Covid positivity rate in Pune district between July 21 and 27 has gone up to 7.23 per cent, from 6.45 per cent in the week ending July 20.

While Kolhapur and Sangli are showing a downward trend, the weekly Covid positivity rate is still high, according to the analysis. At Kolhapur, the weekly positivity rate has gone down to 7.18 per cent as against 8.19 per cent in the July 14-20 period. The weekly positivity rate at Sangli is 6.91 per cent, down from 8.48 per cent.

Sindhudurg (6.49 per cent), Solapur (5.90 per cent), Ahmednagar (4.95 per cent), Beed (4.88 per cent), Raigad (4.70 per cent) and Ratnagiri (3.83 per cent) are among the districts that have a weekly Covid positivity rate higher than the state average.

Dr Shashank Joshi, expert member in the state Covid task force, told The Indian Express: “Because of the floods, the testing has been less. There is a red alert for monsoon-related diseases as well as Covid. We have to be doubly careful so that there is no rebound of Covid infections post-monsoon. The primary variant of concern worldwide, and in Maharashtra, is Delta. We should not let our guard down, especially with the looming threat of diseases such as leptospira, dengue, malaria and typhoid coupled with Covid.”

Dr Subhash Salunkhe, advisor to the state on Covid-19, also said there was a need to exercise caution. “The health system is already under duress. With flood-affected districts on an alert for any outbreak of waterborne diseases, the immediate need is to ensure maximum number of vaccinations,” Dr Salunkhe said.

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