Centre red-flags Covid spike, drop in testing in Mumbai, Maharashtra

Times of India | 1 week ago | 07-08-2022 | 05:04 am

Centre red-flags Covid spike, drop in testing in Mumbai, Maharashtra

MUMBAI: The Union health ministry has flagged off a rising trend in Covid cases across Maharashtra and a drop in testing numbers in at least 20 districts. The central nudge comes at a time when Mumbai is witnessing a doubling of cases: while 486 cases were registered on Saturday, the tally was 286 infections just a week ago (July 30). The letter, signed by Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan, said the week-on-week tally of cases in Mumbai has risen from 1,806 between July 22 and 28 to 2,087 between July 29 and August 5. Other districts such as Pune, Nagpur and Sangli, too, are showing a rise in weekly cases. On Saturday, though the daily state tally remained steady at 1,931, nine deaths have been reported as against half of that on most days. Similar letters were also sent to health secretaries of Delhi, Kerala, Karnataka, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Telangana. With festival season soon, Covid spread is a concernEven as the Centre has written to states over rising cases of Covid, BMC executive health officer Dr Mangala Gomare told TOI: "Cases have crossed 400 for the last four days, but this could be due to weather changes or changed disease patterns." The daily positivity rate in Mumbai has risen to 5% again after dropping to 2% about 10 days back. The number of daily hospitalisations have increased from around 20 to 37 on Saturday. Dr Rahul Pandit, a member of the state Covid task force, said, "We need to keep an eye on the disease and cannot relax. The testing and tracing mantra has to be followed because clearly Covid hasn't gone away." Union health secretary Bhushan said, "Maharashtra has been reporting high average daily new cases since the past one month (2,135 average cases per day). It contributes to 9.7% of India's weekly new cases and weekly positivity of 4.92% in the week ending August 5." An analysis showed 20 districts of Maharashtra reported a decline in the number of tests conducted in the week ended August 4 as compared to the week ended July 28. "...13 districts have reported an increase in cases in the same period and five districts have reported more than 10% weekly positivity in the week ending August 4," said Bhushan. With the festival season set to start soon, mass gatherings and travel within and outside the state is likely to increase, facilitating transmission of infectious diseases, including Covid-19. In recent weeks, cases of flu, especially H1N1 or swine flu, have been increasing across the state. "It is critical to ensure adequate testing in all districts of the state while maintaining the recommended share of RT-PCR and antigen tests," said the union warning. Recommending that district-wise reporting of influenza-like illness and routine genome sequencing be carried out, the centre has asked the state public health department to ensure Covid-appropriate behaviour in crowded places such as markets, interstate bus stands, colleges, schools and railway stations.

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