COVID: Mumbai and Pune are third wave hotspots in Maharashtra, officials on their guard

Maharashtra on Monday recorded 12,160 fresh Covid-19 cases and 11 deaths on Monday, with Mumbai, Thane and Pune being the epicentres of the fresh surge.

Published: 04th January 2022 03:33 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th January 2022 08:00 AM   |  A+A-

Indian teens wait to receive vaccination for COVID-19 at a vaccination center in Mumbai, India, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022. (Photo | AP)

Express News Service

MUMBAI:  Maharashtra on Monday recorded 12,160 fresh Covid-19 cases and 11 deaths on Monday, with Mumbai, Thane and Pune being the epicentres of the fresh surge. In the last eight days, from December 23 to 29, the positivity rate has jumped to 116.14%.

According to the state health department data, between December 22 to 29 last year, Mumbai cases a record 233 per cent rise in positive cases, with the numbers soaring from 2,419 to 8,060 cases.  Pune is another hotspot where daily cases have jumped from 1,827 on December 22 to 2,053 on December 29.

Thane, which recorded 988 fresh cases on December 22, saw the numbers surge 65.8 per cent to 1,668 on December 28. Raigad district also reported a 67.72 per cent growth in positive cases during the same period.

According to a health department report, the state also reported 68 fresh Omicron cases on Monday, of which 40 were in Mumbai and 14 in Pune city. In three districts — Mumbai (2.97%), Pune (2.32%) and Sangali (2.08%) — the positivity rate is higher than the state’s average of 2 per cent. 

With the figures registering an alarming uptick, BMC commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal and the Thane municipal corporation issued circular closing down schools from Classes I to IX and Class XII. The BMC permitted the 10th and 12 standards classes to remain open physically in Mumbai.

“Mumbai is a city where there is a continuous flow of national and international passengers. Therefore, it is natural to report a large number of positive cases compared to any other part of the country or the state. However, the health system is robust. In the second wave, its health model was appreciated even by the Supreme Court and the Centre,” said a senior BMC official.

At present there was no proposal to put any restrictions on suburban train travel in Mumbai, a senior civic official said on Monday as the city records a surge in new coronavirus cases.

Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner, said though the number of daily COVID-19 cases and positivity rate have been increasing in the city, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) was working on preventive measures and was ready to handle any crisis.

Talking to the media, he said at present there was no proposal to put any curbs on suburban train travel.

If needed, the Maharashtra government will take a decision on the issue in consultation with the state task force on COVID-19 as it pertains to the entire Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), Kakani said.

He said at present 90 per cent of the coronavirus patients are asymptomatic and only 4 to 5 per cent patients are being admitted to hospitals and the number of serious cases is negligible.

"Out of 30,500 hospital beds in Mumbai, only 3,500 beds are currently occupied. Also, adequate oxygen supply, medicines, ventilators, ICU facility and hospital beds are available," the civic officer said.

On Monday, Mumbai recorded 8,082 new COVID-19 cases, the highest daily count since April 18, 2021, and two deaths.

In the last one week, the metropolis has logged a 10-fold rise in fresh cases.

the civic body on Monday decided to shut schools of all mediums for classes 1 to 9 and also 11 till January 31, while over 6,100 children were inoculated on first day of vaccination for the 15-18 age group in the metropolis.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said students of classes 10 and 12 are excluded from this decision which means they can attend schools in-person.

However, students of classes 9 and 11 will be allowed to visit schools for receiving vaccine doses as part of the inoculation drive for the 15-18 age group, an official said.

Classes for students of 1 to 9 and 11 will continue in online mode as directed earlier, it said.

Meanwhile, on the first day of vaccination drive for those aged 15 to 18 years, 6,115 children were administered the vaccine against COVID-19 in Mumbai, as per a BMC bulletin.

Of these, 4,806 teenagers were inoculated at BMC-run centres, 148 at government facilities and 1,161 at private centres, the bulletin said.

The vaccine option for this age group is only Covaxin, according to guidelines issued by the Union health ministry on December 27.

With this, the number of inoculated citizens in Mumbai reached 1,80,72,902, of which 80,97,064 have taken both doses.

Later in the day, Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner, told the media that students of classes 9 and 11 will be allowed to visit schools for vaccination though schools will be shut for in-person learning.

Explaining the reasons behind shutting down schools, Kakani said it is necessary to follow COVID-19-appropriate behaviour to contain the spread of the virus, but schoolchildren often tend to ignore norms and gather together in educational premises.

He said they have decided to allow 10th and 12th class students to attend physical schools as their practice sessions and preliminary exams are on.

Kakani said the number of daily cases and positivity rate have been increasing in the city, but the BMC is working on preventive measures and was ready to handle any crisis.

"Out of 30,500 hospital beds in Mumbai, only 3,500 beds are currently occupied. Also, adequate oxygen supply, medicines, ventilators, ICU facility and hospital beds are available," the civic officer said.

He said presently 90 per cent of the coronavirus patients are asymptomatic and only 4 to 5 per cent patients are being admitted to hospitals and the number of serious cases is negligible.

Kakani said as compared to the previous two waves of COVID-19, there has been no significant surge in the infection among children so far.

"Though the numbers are within limit, they have kept hospital beds and other things ready," he said.

The Mumbai civic body on Monday also revised the protocol regarding sealing of buildings where coronavirus cases are found.

The revised guidelines will come into effect from Tuesday, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said on Monday night.

As per the modified protocol, an entire building or a wing of a building complex or a housing society will be sealed if COVID-19 cases are found in more than 20% of the occupied flats in that building or the wing of the building complex or society.

As per the old protocol, a floor of a building used to be sealed if five cases are detected.

The entire building used to be sealed if more than five cases are found.

The civic body has now made isolation mandatory for at least 10 days from the onset of symptoms or testing in the case of asymptomatic patients.

"The patients shall be isolated for at least 10 days from the onset of symptoms or testing (in case of asymptomatic patients) and no fever for three consecutive days," as per the guidelines.

The patient and his contacts shall strictly follow the current guidelines of home isolation and hygiene etiquette while in home quarantine.

High-risk contacts of COVID-19 patients will be home quarantined for seven days, the new guidelines said.

"They shall be tested on the 5th to 7th day or immediately if they turn symptomatic and further protocols shall be followed based on their test results," the BMC said.

Building managing committees should ensure supplies of food, medicines and essentials to the families in quarantine, it said.

"Cooperation shall be given to Medical Officers of Health/ Ward War Room staff to implement the existing COVID-19 protocols and containment guidelines," the guidelines read.

De-sealing decisions of the building or wing could be taken at the respective ward level.

Mumbai on Monday reported 8,082 COVID-19 cases, the highest daily count after April 18, 2021, taking the caseload beyond the 8-lakh mark, while two more patients succumbed to the infection, the city civic body said.

Mumbai also reported 40 new cases of the latest coronavirus variant Omicron, pushing the number of such infections to 368 in the metropolis, according to the Maharashtra government's health department.

The number of sealed buildings in the metropolis also showed an exponential growth as their count has surged to 318, though the tally of containment zones in slums and 'chawls' (old row tenements) stood lower at 11.

As cases are rising steadily, the BMC has decided to shut schools of all mediums for classes 1 to 9 and 11 till January 31, a civic official said.

Students of classes 10 and 12 are excluded from this decision which means they can attend schools in person.

Classes for students of 1 to 9 and 11 will continue in online mode, as directed earlier.

COVID-19 cases may be rising in Pune city but severe symptoms are not being observed in patients and the civic body was fully prepared to handle any situation, said Mayor Murlidhar Mohol on Monday.

The 47 Omicron patients in the state's second largest city also have mild symptoms, he added.

"In one week, the number of active cases is 2,500. However, even as numbers are rising, no severe symptoms are being observed in the patients. Of the 2,500 active cases, 70 to 75 percent are fully vaccinated, which is perhaps why they have no complaints. Some 300 active cases are under hospitalization," he said.

"Of the 300 who are hospitalized, 190 are completely normal. Around 80 are on oxygen support and 25 are on ventilators. We (Pune Municipal Corporation) currently have 4000 Remdesivir medicines available with us, Around 1,800 beds are ready and the jumbo facility can be made operational in seven days," the mayor informed.

He said, in order to the curb the outbreak, a decision has been taken to implement existing restrictions, such as 50 percent attendance norms in cinema halls and fully vaccinated certificates required for entering malls, in a strict manner.

(With PTI Inputs)

MUMBAI UNDER SIEGE

  • 29,810 active cases.

  • 26,538 asymptomatic.

  • 3,046 symptomatic.

  • 235 critical cases.

  • 32,781 beds capacity.  

  • 4,043 beds occupied.

  • 28,738 beds available.

  • 11 contained zones in slums.

  • 318 buildings notified as containment zones.



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