Swab testing at Mumbai’s Juhu beach.
With 227 deaths in the last 24 hours, the death toll due to Covid-19 in Maharashtra reached 54,549 on Wednesday. This was the highest death toll recorded in a single day this year. The state also reported 39,544 new Covid-19 cases. The total caseload of the state is now at 28,12,980.
A day before India open up its Covid-19 vaccination drive to people above 45, the Centre on Wednesday asked states and Union Territories to identify low vaccine-coverage pockets, particularly in districts reporting a surge in new infections, and take corrective action. The status and pace of the inoculation drive across the country were reviewed at the meeting held through video-conferencing, as were the preparations for April 2021, when vaccination would be extended to cover everybody above the age of 45, a statement by the health ministry said.
In other news, former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) leader HD Devegowda and his wife Chennamma tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday. “My wife Chennamma and I have tested positive for COVID-19. We are self-isolating along with other family members. I request all those who came in contact with us over the last few days to get themselves tested. I request party workers and well-wishers not to panic,” Devegowda said in a tweet.
India reports 53,480 new Covid-19 cases, 354 deaths; Covid-19 situation going from “bad to worse” says Health Ministry; 3rd phase of vaccination drive to cover all those aged over 45 to roll out from tomorrow.
In a grim indicator of the worsening Covid-19 situation, queues at RT-PCR testing centres in Mumbai have increased, with a waiting time that ranges between 3 to 4 hours for swab collection. The test reports now take up to 48 hours to arrive.
On Tuesday, Mumbai reported 4,758 cases. The figure was lower than the preceding days as testing had halved on Holi.
Several hospitals and jumbo centres in Mumbai now have Covid-19 patients waitlisted for admission. There is a shortage of beds as most patients, despite being asymptomatic or having mild symptoms, need hospital beds for isolation, as they do not have space for the same at home.
The city is diagnosing 6,000 to 7,000 cases a day, with 80 per cent of the patients asymptomatic. For patients who live in chawls and slums, self-isolation is a challenge, officials said. Of the 3,241 beds in Covid Care Centre-2 meant for mildly ill or asymptomatic patients, 2,219 are already full.
The bustling New Market area of Bhopal had an unusual visitor last week — Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. What he brought along was unusual, too — not a shopping bag, but white paint and masks.
Chouhan’s appearance was part of a move to promote the ‘Mera Mask, Meri Suraksha’ initiative to combat the spurt of Covid cases in Madhya Pradesh. On March 23, the Chief Minister launched the statewide campaign by visiting crowded places, distributing masks to people, and using the paint to draw distancing circles outside shops.
THE LOOMING threat of a lockdown in the state with a daily surge in Covid cases has put migrant workers on the edge with some contemplating plans of returning back to their native places to avoid being caught off guard even though the state government is yet to make any announcement of a lockdown.
After the 21-day national lockdown was announced on March 24 last year, many stranded workers without ration or money had walked thousands of kilometers or hitched overpriced rides to reach home.
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