- On February 12, Maharashtra reported 4,000 new COVID-19 cases
- Health experts say the surge is alarming
- They also caution general public to follow COVID appropriate behaviour
New Delhi: While, India’s new COVID cases saw a decrease in last few days, Maharashtra on Sunday reported over 4,000 fresh COVID-19 cases, after a gap of 39 days. Mumbai reported over 600 cases after exactly a month, according to the Union Health Ministry. With the number of cases seeing an upward trajectory for the past four or five days, health experts have sounded an alarm on how cases are increasing and urged people to follow COVID appropriate behaviour at all times.
Talking to NDTV, Dr Rahul Pandit, Director, Critical Care, Fortis Hospital & Member of COVID Task Force in Mumbai said,
The rise in the cases is very alarming and there is no doubt about that. There are couple of reasons why the cases are going up – one is obviously the locals have started in Mumbai, so there is an increase in population on roads and outside environment. People are travelling from one area to another in locals which they were not doing before. Secondly, what I am seeing in my hospital is that people from 60 to 80 years of age are getting infected and they seem to be the majority of people who are getting admitted right now due to coronavirus. And, I believe, these are the people who were very cautious in the initial part of the pandemic and were staying at home and now have started to go out from their homes and are probably getting infected. Thirdly, now people are not adhering to the coronavirus appropriate behaviour. Social distancing, masking up and hand sanitisation doesn’t seem to be the norm in the society right now as much as it should be. It has certainly gone down significantly and that has been a single most important reason why we are suddenly seeing a surge.
Dr Pandit warned about the second or third wave in India and said if people don’t follow COVID appropriate behaviour, it will become reality. He added,
Now we need to go back to what we were doing three or four months ago. We need to be very cautious and vigilant about coronavirus. If we don’t sound alarm with this rise, we could see a possible big wave, which will not be good and it will take us back to many lockdowns and night curfews and that will hurt us even more.
Highlighting what authorities should do in order to contain the rise in cases in Maharashtra, Dr Pandit added,
There needs to be a 3-Ts approach, which is Test, Trace and Treat. We need to do more and more tests, behind one positive test, we need to do tracing for at least 18 and 20 people and then do their testing. That ways, we will be able to have wider net, we will be able to catch more and more people who are infected with the virus quickly and then ask them to quarantine themselves as per their symptoms and severity.
Stressing on the need to make people aware that they need to wear a mask or they will be imposed with heavy fines, Dr Pandit said,
We need to start finding people who are not adopting corona appropriate behaviour, especially people who are not wearing masks, they need to be aware that if they don’t wear a mask, they will be fined. Just like you are aware at a red traffic light that we need to stop, in the same way, people need to be made aware they need to do masking.
COVID Task Force Member, Dr Shashank Joshi added,
We cannot let our guard down and use “Covid fatigue” as an excuse to not wear masks.
The State’s Health Minister Rajesh Tope also said that the rise in Maharashtra cases is alarming and said that they had managed to flatten the curve in the last one month as far as daily COVID-19 cases were concerned, but this recent rise is definitely a cause FOR worry. The state government has said that the “3T formula” of tracing, testing and treatment will have to be implemented strictly to tackle the increase. Mr Tope added,
We have given instructions that the 3T formula of tracing, testing and treatment be implemented strictly, effectively. Testing needs to be increased. Meanwhile, people also need to follow COVID-19 guidelines.
The Health Minister also said that the situation needs to be controlled as soon as possible before the situation gets uncontrolled. He said, “We don’t want to go in for a lockdown now.”
After Kerala, Maharashtra is on the second spot with the highest number of COVID-19 cases and large cities like Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur are in focus with a high number of cases.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.