MUMBAI: In Maharashtra, the detection of total coronavirus positive patient numbers have been reached to 32 that are highest across the country. The suspected corona virus-positive death of 71-year-old Buldhana patient who had come from Dubai blood sample report comes out negative on Sunday.
State Health minister Rajesh Tope said that the government has decided to increase the swap testing from 100 to 250 per day in the Kasthurba Hospital in Mumbai while in BJ Medical College and hospital, the swap testing facility will be also extended.
"Maharashtra government has also decided to set up the coronavirus testing laboratory in the district level also. We have placed the order and very soon, people will avail this sample testing facility," Tope said.
On Sunday, a 59-year-old woman from Aurangabad, who had returned from Russia, was detected coronavirus positive. She was quarantined and admitted to the local hospital.
Maharashtra police have also put restrictions over the group domestic and international travelling. "If it is urgent and necessary, then the tour operator will have to seek permission from the local police authority," it stated in a notification.
Tope said that the government has also decided to extend the daily food, fruits, newspapers and internet likes facilities to the corona virus-infected patients in the hospitals. "We have also deployed the police force at the hospitals where the coronavirus patients are admitted. It will prevent the patients to run away and then no one will be allowed to go inside without the permissions," he said.
Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray said that they are consulting with the elections commission to reschedule the local body elections that are scheduled in April 2020. All the pre-planned government programs were cancelled and the administration was asked to focus on health care and preventions measure to contain the coronavirus from spreading.
Earlier, five patients from Pimpri Chinchwad, the extended suburb of Pune were tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday morning.
Maharashtra on Saturday, had overtaken Kerala to have the highest number of cases in the country with 32. Of these, ten have been quarantined in Pune, five in Mumbai, five in Pimpri Chinchwad, four in Nagpur, two in Yavatmal and one each in Navi Mumbai, Kalyan, Thane, Panvel, Aurangabad and Ahmednagar.
Most of the coronavirus patients in the state had returned from the UAE, France and the US and their average age is 40. The Maharashtra government has already invoked the Epidemic Diseases Act 1897 to prevent large gatherings and cancelled religious and public functions across the state.
Maharashtra government has also cancelled the Maharashtra Police Service Examinations that was scheduled in March 2002.
Besides, the Indian Motion Picture Producers Association (IMPPA) has also called the meeting on Sunday and asked to complete the urgent shooting in next three days and suspend the further film, web and televisions serials shooting at the Goregaon film studio.
Deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar warned the cinema halls to adhere to the directives of the state government. "The cinema halls and multiplex should be close down still the end of March. Only essential commodities like milk and veggie supplying shops will be permitted to keep open in malls. The small glossary shops will be allowed to keep open so that people will not face any difficulty to get their daily stuff," Pawar said.
The private coaching classes will be also shut down. The government also issued a notification on Saturday to close down schools and colleges across the state till March end although the exams will be held as per schedule. Theatres, gyms and swimming pools will be also closed till the end of the month.
Maharashtra government has also decided to quarantine the prisoners in the Arthur road jail. “The prisoners in this jail are in large number more than its capacity. Therefore, the government is planning to shift some of the prisoners at some of the other locations like Taloja Jail in Navi Mumbai,” said Tope.
Four coronavirus suspects who were admitted to the Nagpur Mayo civil hospital had run away late on Friday night without informing hospital authorities. However, the police tracked them down and brought them back to the hospital on Saturday afternoon.
"These patients came to know that one coronavirus positive patient is also in the same hospital. They were afraid that if they came in contact with the patients, then they would also be infected. People should take the epidemic seriously and not put the lives of others in danger," said Nagpur collector Ravindra Thakre.
Thakre said they had also identified the families of these four patients and others who had come in contact with them. "We are taking their blood samples and asked them not to mingle with anyone else until their test reports are out. People should come forward and cooperate to prevent the virus from spreading to other regions," he added.
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Dr Rajendra Shingane, the food and drug minister, said a couple in Yawatmal was also suspected to have been infected with the virus. "We told them not to come in contact with other people. Despite this warning, they left their homes. Then we have to use the police force to detain them in their home only. We have taken their samples for testing. We have also deployed the police permanently at their house," he said.
He also said that he had called a meeting with sanitizer producers. "We told them this is an emergency situation so there should be no shortage of sanitizers. People should not hoard it. We also appealed to them to increase the manpower in their firms so that they can raise production. The sanitizer is not the solution to end the coronavirus but it is one of the preventive measures to keep ourselves clean," he added.
Shingane said the raw material for sanitizers comes from China. "China is also facing the coronavirus so there are some difficulties in importing the raw material. However, we will find a solution soon. We have told the firms to find an alternative that can be used to produce sanitizers," he said.