PUNE: Five out of over 5,000 persons who were among those who visited the Jaystambh military monument in the district on Saturday tested positive for COVID-19 in rapid antigen tests, officials said.
Lakhs of people paid tributes at the monument to mark the 204th anniversary of the Koregaon Bhima battle.
"There was a thermal screening facility in the parking area where people were screened for COVID-19 symptoms and some were tested with antigen kits," said Abhinav Deshmukh, Superintendent of Police, Pune Rural.
"A total of 5,765 tests were conducted till 5 pm and five people were found positive," he said.
Ayush Prasad, CEO, Pune Zilla Parishad, said two of these persons who tested positive were from Nashik.
"We sent them back to Nashik and also informed the district administration there. The remaining three were from Pune district. One lives alone so he was asked to follow home quarantine while the other two were sent in institutional quarantine," Prasad added.
All five patients were mostly asymptomatic and will be subjected to RT-PCR tests, he said.
Around six lakh people were screened till late in the evening by 300-plus medical professionals at the spot, the CEO said.
Asked about people not following Covid-appropriate behavior, Prasad said the administration had appealed that senior citizens and children below 10 years should not attend the event.
"But many people turned up with their families and brought senior citizens and children along.
A few people who were not wearing masks were offered free masks.
Social distancing was not followed at many places," he said.
Over 81,000 masks were distributed till 5 pm, said another official.
Members of Dalit communities look upon the Jaystambh memorial as a symbol of victory over casteism as the British forces that defeated the Brahmin Peshwa's army at Koregaon Bhima on January 1, 1818, comprised largely of soldiers from the Dalit Mahar community.
The rise in COVID-19 cases led to the Pune district administration canceling two bullock cart races that were planned on Saturday, an official said.
The races were to be held in Nanoli in Maval tehsil and Chinchodi in Ambegaon tehsil and the order canceling them for the time being due to rising COVID-19 cases was issued by Collector Rajesh Deshmukh, he said.
Pune district on Saturday reported 631 COVID-19 cases and two deaths, taking the tally to 11,65,217 and the toll to 19,249, a health department official said.
Of the six Omicron variant cases detected in the state during the day, three are from the district, comprising two from Pimpri Chinchwad and one from Pune city, he said.
Maharashtra reported 9,170 new coronavirus cases, 1,103 more than the day before, and seven deaths on Saturday, the health department said.
The state, which witnessed a dramatic rise in coronavirus cases in the last 11 days of 2021, also recorded six new Omicron variant infections.
On Friday, the state had reported 8,067 COVID-19 cases and eight deaths.
On Thursday, the new cases were 5,368 and 22 deaths.
The COVID-19 case tally of Maharashtra rose to 66,87,991 on Saturday, an official said.
The death toll of the pandemic has increased to 1,41,533.
The state also recorded six new cases of Omicron all from Pune.
The state has so far recorded 460 cases of Omicron, marked as a 'variant of concern' by the WHO.
The case fatality rate in the state is 2.11 per cent, the official said.
As many as 1,445 patients were discharged, taking the tally of those recovered so far to 65,10,541.
The coronavirus recovery rate in the state is 97.35 per cent.
Maharashtra now has 32,225 active cases.
Mumbai recorded 6,347 new COVID-19 cases, a steep rise from 5,428 the day before.
Altogether 451 patients were discharged, taking the number of those recovered to 7,50,158, a BMC official said.
The city's overall recovery rate is 95 per cent, he said.
There are now 22,334 active cases in Mumbai, he added.
The doubling rate in Mumbai is now 251 days, he said.
The growth rate of cases during December 25- December 31 is 0.28 per cent, he added.