Maharashtra 'in beginning of second COVID-19 wave,' warns Centre
Maharashtra is at the beginning of a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, the central government has warned in a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray-led government, urging the state to focus on containing the virus' spread. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan wrote the letter to Maharashtra Chief Secretary after a central team's visit to the state last week. Here are more details.
'Very limited effort to track, test, isolate cases'
"Maharashtra is in the beginning of a second wave of COVID-19 pandemic. There's very limited active effort to track, test, isolate cases and quarantine contacts. There is no adherence to COVID-19 appropriate behavior among people both in rural and urban areas," Bhushan observed about the situation. "The administrative mechanism should be re-instated to the level witnessed in August-September 2020 to contain/suppress the COVID-19 transmission."
'High transmission in the community'
According to the letter, the current case fatality has been found to be very high in hospitals such as Government Medical College in Aurangabad and Vasant Rao Pawar Medical College, Nashik. This calls for a detailed investigation, Bhushan said. Further, the central team noted that there were many cases that were not being tested and "there is high transmission in the community."
'Local administration not worried about the evolving situation'
Due to limited contact tracing, a large pool of asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic people were not being tracked and tested, Bhushan observed in the letter. "The central team found that the District Administration is not much worried about the evolving situation. We could sense a feeling that enough has been done already. This complacency may take its toll (sic)," he wrote.
Curfews, lockdowns 'may have very limited impact'
Some districts in the state are imposing or considering night curfews or partial lockdowns. But, these measures "may have only very limited impact on containing/suppressing the transmission," as per the Centre's letter. "Hence the District Administration should focus on containment strategy as per the guidelines of the Health Ministry," the Centre told the state government.
Maharashtra reported over 15,000 coronavirus cases yesterday
Maharashtra, among the few states that have been reporting a worrying spike in COVID-19 cases, logged more than 15,000 new coronavirus cases on Monday, taking the state's tally to 23,29,464. To contain the surge, the state government has limited the seating capacity in cinemas to half, banned gatherings, capped the number of guests allowed in weddings and other functions, and advised work from home.