MUMBAI: The Maharashtra government has been testing samples aggressively and tracing new cases under 'chase the virus' strategy, and has also ramped up health infrastructure, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray told Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a virtual meeting on Wednesday.
With this strategy, the virus spread has been significantly contained in Dharavi, the biggest and thickly-populated slum sprawl in Mumbai, an official release quoted Thackeray telling the prime minister.
Worst hit by the pandemic, Maharashtra's COVID-19 case tally stood at 1,13,445 and fatalities 5,537, the highest in the country, as on June 16.
Earlier in the day, the PM held online consultations with chief ministers and representatives of 14 states and the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir on the second day of his sixth round of such interactions.
During the meeting, Thackeray sought the Centre's permission to allow use of certain drugs in treatment of COVID-19 disease.
He also demanded more PPE kits, N95 masks and ventilators, especially for rural areas.
The chief minister told the PM that huge health infrastructure has been created in Maharashtra in the last two-and-a-half months, including field hospitals with overall capacity of three lakh beds.
"Earlier there were three isolation hospitals, one laboratory, and capacity of 350 beds to tackle the pandemic, but now there are 97 laboratories, 282 dedicated COVID hospitals, 434 dedicated COVID health centres, and 1,631 dedicated COVID centres.
In all the 36 districts of the state, there are 2,349 COVID facilities now. At present, there are 2,81,290 isolation beds, 37,845 oxygen beds, and 7,982 ICU beds. The number of quarantine facilities is 1,549 with 80,000 beds," he said.
The CM said MOUs worth Rs 16,000 crore were signed earlier this week with investors to give a boost to the economic cycle.
"This will provide employment opportunities to 14,000 people," he said.
Thackeray demanded that nationalised banks be directed to provide immediate loans to farmers.
He told the PM that there should be uniformity in examination schedule across the country.
When Modi talked about the clashes in Ladakh, Thackeray expressed confidence that the country would firmly deal with the issue under Modi's leadership.
He also informed the PM about "massive" health facilities being created at the Nehru Science Centre, Racecourse, BKC, Goregaon Exhibition Centre in Mumbai and other places.
The CM said more than 17 lakh migrant workers have been sent back to their native places from Maharashtra.
"Under the 'Vande Bharat' mission, 78 flights have brought 12,974 passengers to Mumbai from other countries. Till July 1, 80 more flights are expected," he said.