The number of COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra – the state worst hit by the outbreak in India – rose to 63 on Saturday after 11 new infections were reported, according to ANI. State Health Minister Rajesh Tope said eight out of the 11 patients had travel history and three were infected after coming into contact with them. The state has also reported one coronavirus-linked death.
Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said that the rise in coronavirus cases is a cause of serious concern and warned that the state may head towards stage three of transmission – where people exposed neither to an infected person nor one who has travel history to affected countries contract the virus, PTI reported. This is the stage of community transmission that India has not witnessed yet.
The minister added that the government may have to suspend suburban trains in Mumbai if residents continue to travel unnecessarily. “If people don’t listen and continue to use public transport unnecessarily, we may have to think otherwise,” he said, referring to the decision to not stop local trains. “We are in Phase-2 [of transmission] and heading towards Phase-3.”
Tope said that coronavirus has spread largely because of people who have come from foreign countries. “Of the total number of cases, 13 to 14 are those who came in contact with infected people,” he said. “Rest all are import cases,” he said.
The state has ordered the closure of public places as it scrambles to contain a worsening health crisis. On Friday, Mumbai Municipal Commissioner Pravin Pardeshi had ordered schools and other non-essential establishments to remain closed and announced measures to regulate overcrowding in hospitals
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had announced that all workplaces in Mumbai and Pune will remain closed till March 31 to check the alarming spread of coronavirus. The shutdown will also be applicable in Mumbai Metropolitan Region, Pimpri Chinchwad and Nagpur. Government offices will operate at 25% strength instead of 50% as was decided recently.
Thackeray had also announced that shops, apart from those selling essential goods, will also remain shut till the end of March. The chief minister said the state government has ordered complete shutdown in Mumbai Metropolitan Region, except essential services and public transport.
Earlier this week, the state government had also started marking people who have been asked to self-isolate themselves for 14 days over COVID-19 with a stamp in indelible ink, which says “home quarantined.
The number of positive cases coronavirus cases in India rose to 271 on Saturday morning, a day after the country registered its largest single-day increase with 63 cases. India’s top medical body, the Indian Council of Medical Research, revised its testing criteria for COVID-19, saying all hospitalised patients with SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, shortness of breath, and fever and cough will now be tested.