INDIA. Mumbai: Amid the surge in COVID-19 cases, Maharashtra is heading for partial lockdowns in different parts of the state, and strict implementation of preventive norms including a fine to those not wearing face masks has begun.
While a week-long lockdown in Amravati district in the Vidarbha region of Eastern Maharashtra kicked in from Monday, Wardha, Washim, and Yavatmal in the same region, observed a lockdown on Saturday and Sunday. The district administration in Pune shut down schools and coaching centers till February 28 because of rising cases in the state. Similarly, the political, religious, and social gatherings have been banned throughout the state from Monday.
On Sunday, Maharashtra’s minister of social welfare, Vijay Wadettiwar stated that the government is considering imposing a night curfew since Coronavirus cases are rising in Nagpur, Akola, Amaravati, Yavatmal, Mumbai, and Pune. We have asked the district administration to take a call on lockdown or other restrictions after assessing the situation on the ground.
Similarly, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in a FaceBook live on Sunday said that the decision about a fresh lockdown will be taken after the situation is reviewed after 8 days. Even if there is laxity in people, the district administration should enforce the norms strictly. The district collectors have already been instructed about this. It is up to the people to decide whether to follow the rules or go back to the lockdown again. So, more care should be taken in the future.
Fresh cases in Maharashtra
In the last 24 hours, Maharashtra reported 6,971 new COVID-19 cases and 35 deaths, as per the state health department. The total number of COVID-19 cases in the state has reached 21,00,884 with the addition of new cases. The death toll in the state has risen to 51,788 with the addition of 35 deaths. The fresh cases included 800 to 900 fresh cases in Mumbai and Pune 1,100 new COVID-19 cases(6 deaths).
The action against marriage halls
As part of a crackdown on offenders not adhering to social distancing norms and exceeding the number of guests beyond 50, ten marriage halls were sealed and offenses were registered against 25 organizers in Jalgaon district on Sunday.
Action against those not wearing a face mask
In Mumbai, a fine of Rs 32,30,800 was collected from 16,154 people roaming without wearing a face mask on Sunday alone. The fine of Rs 200/- per offender was collected. Out of the total 24 municipal wards, the maximum fine of Rs 4.69 lakh was collected from 2345 people in the K west ward covering Andheri and adjoining areas.
Other wards with highest fine collection were: H/West (Santacruz)-Rs 02,31,800 from 1159 people, A ward(Colaba, Fort in South Mumbai) Rs 206000 from 1030 people, L ward (Kurla) -Rs 1,77,200 from 886 people, F/North(Dadar)- Rs 1,48,800 from 744 people, S ward (Bhandup West)-Rs 1,48,600 from 743 people, G North (Dadar West)- Rs 1,41,800 from 709 people, K/East(Andheri East)- Rs 1,41,400 from 707 people and R Central(Borivali West)-Rs 1,41,000 from 705 people. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has collected a fine of Rs.31.52 crore from 15.59 lakh people since April 2020 till date.
Over 1000 Buildings with more than five COVID-19 patients were sealed in the last two days. Earlier the buildings used to be sealed only if 10 suspected patients were detected.
Countrywide round up
When the pandemic appeared to be slowing in the country and globally, the country is witnessing a resurgence of coronavirus. With more than 13,919 cases in the past 24 hours, India’s active caseload hit 145,634 on Sunday or 1.32% of the total positive cases. More than 74% of active cases are in Kerala and Maharashtra. Of late, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, and Jammu, and Kashmir have also seen a spike in daily cases.
“In the past four weeks in Kerala, the average weekly cases have fluctuated between a high of 42,000 to a low of 34,800. Similarly, in the past four weeks, the weekly positivity in Kerala ranged from 13.9% to 8.9%. The district of Alappuzha is a cause of special concern where the weekly positivity rate has increased to 10.7% and weekly cases have increased to 2,833,” the Union health ministry said in a statement.
According to ministry data, in the past four weeks, Maharashtra’s weekly case count has been rising from 18,200 to 21,300 and the weekly positivity rate has jumped from 4.7% to 8%. “The areas of concern are Mumbai suburban areas where weekly cases have risen by 19%. In Nagpur, Amravati, Nashik, Akola, and Yavatmal, the weekly cases increased by 33%, 47%, 23%, 55%, and 48%, respectively,” the ministry said.
The situation in Punjab, too, is rapidly becoming critical with the weekly positivity rate increasing from 1.4% to 1.6% in the past four weeks. The number of cases has risen from 1,300 to 1682 a week. In SBS Nagar district alone, the weekly positivity rate has jumped from 3.5% to 4.9%, with cases more than doubling from 165 to 364.
According to Union government data, five states and Union territories have breached the national average for weekly positivity rate of 1.79%. Maharashtra reported the highest rate of 8.10%.
Centre’s instructions to states
Worried about the rising case tally, the Centre has written to the states to improve testing especially RT-PCR tests. It said states should ensure all negative rapid antigen test results are mandatorily followed with RT-PCR tests. The Centre also asked states to strictly implement comprehensive surveillance and stringent containment measures in select districts.
Meanwhile, India has vaccinated more than 11 million as of Sunday. The second dose of covid-19 vaccination began on 13 February for those who completed 28 days of the first jab. Vaccination of frontline workers began on 2 February. On day 36 of the vaccination drive, 432,931 vaccine doses were administered, of which, 256,488 beneficiaries were vaccinated across 8,575 sessions for the first dose, while 176,443 received the second dose.