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Maharashtra sees highest daily jump, Minister Jitendra Awhad tests positive


By: Express News Service | Mumbai |

Updated: April 24, 2020 4:34:25 am


Among those who tested positive was Maharashtra Housing Minister Jitendra Awhad.

Maharashtra Thursday registered 778 new COVID-19 cases, the highest single-day jump in numbers since the first coronavirus case in the state in the first week of March. Over the last four days alone, the state has registered 2,000 new cases, taking its total to 6,427. The state has seen 283 deaths, 14 of them over the past 24 hours.

Mumbai continued to add the highest number of cases to the state’s tally, registering 522 more over the past 24 hours — also its highest number for a day. The total COVID-19 count in the city now is 4,205, or 65% of Maharashtra’s total, while six more deaths on Thursday took its toll to 137. BMC officials said that included in Thursday’s count were 297 cases diagnosed by private labs between April 20 and April 21.

The previous largest single-day jump for Mumbai was on April 19, with 456 cases.

Among those who tested positive was Maharashtra Housing Minister Jitendra Awhad. He was admitted to hospital on Tuesday night, 10 days after he had put himself under home quarantine after coming in contact with a person who tested positive for coronavirus.

Sources close to the NCP leader said he was moved to a private hospital after developing fever. A hospital spokesperson said his condition was stable.

After Mumbai, Pune, which remains the second worst-hit in the state, saw five deaths while one death each occurred in Nandurbar, Navi Mumbai and Dhule. In Nandurbar, a 32-year-old trader died on Wednesday night, within a day of testing positive. Of the state’s 6,427 cases, over 120, or around 2%, are critical.

Of the 14 who died on Thursday, three were under 40 years of age, nine between 40-59, and two above 60. Seven of them also had diabetes, hypertension, asthma or heart disease.

The Inter-Ministerial Central Team, dispatched by the Centre to assess the efforts being taken by Mumbai to fight COVID-19, told the government on Thursday to take measures to reduce the doubling rate and mortality rate. The doubling rate in Maharashtra is at present 7 days, and the death rate 4.5%. In Mumbai, the death rate is 4%. The team said efforts should be made to increase the doubling time to 10 days, according to a senior state government official present at meetings with the Central officials.

At a video conference with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, the Central team asked the state government to create quarantine facilities away from slums for people living in those areas, citing the threat posed by the use of same public toilets.

According to a statement issued by the CM’s office, the Central team led by Additional Secretary, Ministry of Food Processing Industry, Manoj Joshi specifically talked about Dharavi. The statement said Joshi also told the state government to increase its capacity of institutional quarantine and carry out more focused tests.

The five-member Central team that has been in Mumbai for the past three days also said private hospitals and nursing homes should not refuse treatment to non-COVID patients.

Thackeray asked the state administration to implement the suggestions immediately, and told BMC to publicise information regarding COVID and non-COVID hospitals and fever clinics.

Maharashtra has collected over 96,000 samples for testing, while over a lakh people are under quarantine. Of them, 8,702 remain in institutional quarantine. The government said it had streamlined its treatment protocol to keep beds for critical patients free. While the state has 2,509 ventilators, it has placed orders for 2,000 more.

Officials said Maharashtra is running 944 camps for migrant labourers, providing them food, shelter and mental counselling. A state official said 46,436 labourers had been counselled about coronavirus. “Those who have serious mental illnesses are being admitted for treatment,” an official said.

Among those who present at the video conference with the Central team were Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope, Chief Secretary Ajoy Mehta and the municipal commissioners of Mumbai and Pune.

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