India

Maha corona positive cases shoot to 302, 10 deaths

Mumbai, March 31 (IANS) In the sharpest spurt since lockdown started, Maharashtra notched a staggering 302 Covid-19 positive cases with the highest number from Mumbai, officials said here on Tuesday.

In the past 24 hours, the number of cases skyrocketed from 259 to 302 — an increase of 43 cases.

The total positive cases stood at: 151 in Mumbai, 48 in Pune, 36 in Thane region, 25 in Sangli, Nagpur 16, Ahmednagar 8, Yavatmal 4, Buldhana 3, 2 each in Satara and Kolhapur, one each in Aurangabad, Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri, Gondia, Jalgaon, Nashik, besides one from Gujarat.

The state has 10 Covid-19 deaths, including 8 in Mumbai, and one each in Pune and Buldhana, including the state's youngest victim, a 40-year old suburban home-maker with no history of foreign travel, and a medico in his early-80s, said Health Minister Rajesh Tope.

Addressing the state late this evening, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray again appealed to people to remain indoors and maintain social distancing.

“The ‘war against virus' has reached a crucial stage and this is the time to exercise extreme precautions. Please do not step out of your homes for your own safety,” Thackeray said.

He said that the problems of migrant labourers has been adequately addressed with around 1,000 camps — up from 262 on Monday — started functioning today.

The number of Rs 5 meals, ‘Shiva Bhojan Thali' has been hiked from the normal 25,000 daily to now 100,000, with plans to increase more if required.

“The state has sufficient stocks of foodgrains, vegetables and medicines and there's no need to panic,” the CM said.

As per latest official data, so far 39 persons have fully recovered and discharged to go home, while 23,914 people are in home quarantine, 1,434 in institutional isolation across the state.

Tope said the ICMR has so far approved starting 23 testing labs, including 13 in the private sector.

In a related development, the health authorities have sealed off the Worli-Koliwada, one of Mumbai's oldest fisherfolk colonies which falls in the constituency of Tourism and Environment Minister Aditya U. Thackeray, after at least 4-5 positive cases were detected.

“Late last night 2 a.m. onwards, Koliwada and Janata Colony have been sealed off further. Disinfection and fumigation is on along with contact tracing,” Aditya Thackeray tweeted today.

According to officials, one of the reasons for the huge increase in cases today is attributed to the Mumbai population density, especially in sprawling dingy slums with tiny tenements which make up half of the country's commercial capital.

The slums house millions of people eking out an existence in cramped quarters, with common sanitation facilities, insufficient water supply, no open spaces or greenery, making them a potentially fertile ground for diseases with little or no scope for ‘social distancing'.

–IANS

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