- Maharashtra has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in India
- With 10,000 cases, Maharashtra performs 5,071 tests per million people
- Lockdown may be extended in red zones: Health Minister
New Delhi: With close to 10,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, Maharashtra remains the state with highest number of coronavirus cases in the country. Almost 7000 of the cases in the state are from the capital Mumbai, which is home to a major international airport. Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope told NDTV that about 3 lakh travellers who arrived at the Mumbai airport before the lockdown were screened at the airport itself.
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It’s a basic trigger why Maharashtra had so many cases since beginning. At present, we are doing at least 5,071 tests per million, which is highest testing rate in the entire country. We have also been diligently conducting contact tracing, being conducted by our 5000+ member team which includes Medical Officer Health (MoH) Policemen and home guards, who go from house to house and also trace elderly people, he informed NDTV.
Referring to a report provided to the Maharashtra government by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) suggesting ‘a huge surge in cases in Mumbai in particular by the mid of May, Mr. Tope told NDTV,
Our motto is ‘hope for the best, but prepare for the worst’ and we want to ensure we are prepared even if there is a spike in numbers. The Chief Minister has taken an initiative that all the lands, grounds, schools colleges, community halls, playgrounds are ready to turn into quarantine centres if needed. We are planning for the worst. If we get a surge by say 31st May, we should prepared to put people in institutional quarantine.
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He further explained that there are mathematical models prepared by every state government to get an estimate of the status of the pandemic in the country. He said,
There are two important notes, the doubling rate in Mumbai was initially 7 days which has now become 10 days. Death rate previously was 7 now it’s 4, so that’s an improvement on fatality rate as well. So overall, as far as the numbers go, we have recorded an improvement in Mumbai. We have also facilitated new strategies like portable X-RAY to catch the virus at an early stage.
When it comes to the status of lockdown in state, Mr. Tope says that green zones in the state may be given some relaxations, he says,
My personal anticipation is that only in the green zones activities should be given some relaxations. Even the honourable Prime Minister and Chief Minister share the same opinion that the hotspots and containment zones should not be open right now.
When it comes to the extension in the lockdown in Mumbai, he says that the decision lies with the CM and PM about what kind of restrictions can be imposed in the financial capital post May 3. However, he asserts that the state is adhering to the guidelines laid down by the government of India.