Maharashtra Covid cases spike to 5,000+, Mumbai accounts for half; old data too, say officials

Times of India | 1 day ago | 24-06-2022 | 04:19 am

Maharashtra Covid cases spike to 5,000+, Mumbai accounts for half; old data too, say officials

MUMBAI: The state recorded the highest single-day tally (5,218) in the current surge of Covid cases, with Mumbai accounting for nearly half of the cases (2,479) on Thursday. Mumbai recorded another death, adding up to 23 fatalities in June so far against the combined toll of 11 deaths in March, April and May. Navi Mumbai also recorded its first Covid death after 4 months when a 30-year-old congenital heart patient died due to Covid-related complications on Thursday. However, health officials are not worried about Thursday's spike that they attributed to the inclusion of some backdated cases. "The ICMR portal was not functional for over 24 hours and the BMC data team was unable to update the tally. Thursday's Covid update includes some old cases as a result," said state surveillance officer Dr Pradip Awate. The Thursday spike followed a dip in cases in both state and city for the last few days. On Wednesday, Maharashtra's caseload was 60% lower at 3,260 cases while Mumbai's tally was 50% lower at 1,648 cases. Daily hospitalisation increased to 109 after hovering between 85 and 95 for a few days. A civic official said the daily rise and dips don't hold significance, only weekly trends and deaths should be considered while deciding upon the severity of any Covid surge. ‘Look at weekly Covid tally, not daily ups and downsEven as the state and the city saw an increase in Covid infections, the daily test positive rate dropped from 20% on Wednesday to 12% on Thursday. A city civic official said that the weekly trends should be considered to determine Covid surge. The official said, “If at the end of the week, we have a lower tally than last week’s caseload, it can be said that the present surge is plateauing.” The lone death in the state on Thursday occurred in Mumbai when a 42-year-old kidney failure patient passed away due to Covid-related complications. Since June 14, the city has recorded a death every day. Meanwhile, the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) area reported its first Covid-related death on Thursday after almost four months of zero casualties. The last Covid death was reported on February 26. NMMC’s overall toll since the pandemic began is now 2,050. NMMC medical officer Dr Pramod Patil said the 30- year-old victim had congenital heart problems. Like Mumbai, NMMC too witnessed the highest single-day cases (389) on Thursday. The total number of active cases increased to 1,934 which stood at just 18 early last month. More than 4,000 new cases have been reported in the past fortnight and most of them are asymptomatic or having mild symptoms. But a large number among the affected patients are in home isolation. A Covid care facility of the civic body at Cidco Exhibition Centre in Vashi with 1,200 beds is operational, only 16 patients are undergoing treatment here whereas 1,468 are home quarantined. The remaining patients are in private hospitals. For the past one week, between 200 and 350 new cases of Covid have been reported in Navi Mumbai.

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Rival Shiv Sena factions call meetings as Maharashtra political crisis continues: Key developments
Times of India | 2 hours ago | 25-06-2022 | 12:05 pm
Times of India
2 hours ago | 25-06-2022 | 12:05 pm

NEW DELHI: There is no end in sight for the Maharashtra political crisis and the tussle within the Shiv Sena, as the rebel MLAs led by Eknath Shinde seem prepared to stay put in Guwahati. They are awaiting clarity on two moot points before contemplating a return to Mumbai- the possible disqualification of 16 dissident MLAs and the appointment of the chief whip in the legislative assembly. The battle could well get dragged to the courts as the two sides look closely at the legal options available. Eknath Shinde tweets rebel MLA's letter to Thackeray: CM was inaccessible to usUddhav Thackeray has called a meeting of the party's national executive committee on Saturday at 1pm. The meeting will be held at Mumbai's Shiv Sena Bhavan which the CM will join virtually. Maharashtra crisis live updatesThe rebel faction of Eknath Shinde will also convene for a meeting at Radisson Blu Hotel in Guwahati this afternoon to discuss further strategy, sources said. Maharashtra crisis: Shiv Sena workers smear black ink on rebel MLA Sada Sarvankar's postersHere are the latest developments in the Maharashtra political saga: Eknath Shinde writes to CM Thackeray over security concernsRebel Shiv Sena MLA Eknath Shinde has shot off a letter to Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray and all police commissioners in the state, claiming that the security to the family members of the 38 "rebel" MLAs have been "maliciously" withdrawn. He alleged that MVA leaders have instigated their cadres to take up violence against the rebel MLAs and intimidate them. Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut has threatened that they would not be able to move around in Maharashtra, he said. Shinde further said that in Punjab, the security of high profile persons was removed and then they became the targets of goons and gangsters. he expressed concern that the same could happen in Maharashtra. Reacting to Shinde's letter, Sena MP Sanjay Raut said only MLAs are eligible for state security, but not their families. Shortly afterwards, Maharashtra home minister Dilip Walse Patil said in a tweet that no orders have been issued by the CM or home department to remove the security of any MLA. The allegations are totally false and misleading. 'Skipping meet no ground for disqualification'The political drama unfolding in Maharashtra now has legal experts divided too on whether disqualification can be sought for the 'rebels' in Shiv Sena. However, most are in agreement that the MLAs cannot be disqualified on grounds of not attending recent party meetings as that is outside the ambit of legislative affairs. Why Eknath Shinde's rebellion made Shiv Sena stop and take noteThe party's petition to the deputy speaker seeking disqualification of 16 MLAs including rebel leader Eknath Shinde has sought to invoke para 2 (1) (a) of the 10th Schedule of the Indian Constitution, which governs 'disqualification on grounds of defection'. Maha crisis: Eknath Shinde showcases strength, releases first video with 42 rebel MLAs from Guwahati280 MVA decisions in 4 days; ‘rebels’ arranged orders, funds before flightThe MVA government led by CM Uddhav Thackeray has taken 280 decisions since Monday. "It seems that the rebel cabinet members ensured that all relevant orders are issued before they leave Mumbai, an official said. "They took proper care: orders have been issued and adequate budgetary provisions made for the purpose," he said. Read AlsoOptions before Eknath Shinde: Approach court or governorFour days after rebel Shiv Sena member Eknath Shinde raised the banner of revolt against the leadership of Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray, the moot question is what are the options before him. Experts said since the 10th schedule of the anti-defection law amended in 2003 does not recognise a split,Provisions have been made for Rs 1,200 crore for providing power at a concessional rate for industrial consumers in the backward areas in Vidarbha, Marathwada and north Maharashtra. Provisions have also been made for distribution of bulk water to private housing societies. As many as 18 decisions have been taken by the water supply department controlled by rebel minister Gulabrao Patil. 'Rebels in no hurry to leave Guwahati until key issues resolved'Former minister and Shiv Sena MLA Deepak Kesarkar, who is now in the Eknath Shinde camp, told TOI on Friday said the rebel group is in no hurry to return to Maharashtra until two issues - the possible disqualification of 16 dissident MLAs and the appointment of the chief whip in the legislative assembly- are resolved. Kesarkar said, "How can they have their chief whip when their house strength has dwindled to 15 members. Our group has the support of 38 Sena MLAs. These moves are completely unconstitutional. If there is a vote of no-confidence, the downfall of the present government will be imminent." "The petition for disqualification of the 16 MLAs is on ground that they did not attend a meeting of Sena legislators. This meeting was called at very short notice and they must remember that Maharashtra is a big state and, in some parts, it takes at least 10-12 hours to reach Mumbai. How can these MLAs travel from their home district to Mumbai in such a short time? " he said.

Rival Shiv Sena factions call meetings as Maharashtra political crisis continues: Key developments
Covid-19: Booster doses for 60-plus group surge in Maharashtra
Times of India | 5 hours ago | 25-06-2022 | 09:16 am
Times of India
5 hours ago | 25-06-2022 | 09:16 am

PUNE: The state’s booster or precaution dose consumption has surged with the initiation of the doorstep Covid-19 vaccination programme. Going by the latest report of the state health department, nearly 3.16lakh residents over 60 years of age across 36 districts have availed of the benefit of the third dose since the beginning of the special Har Ghar Dastak drive on June 1. “We aim to administer this precaution dose to every eligible person over 60 years in the state and cover the maximum people by the end of July,” said state immunisation officer Dr Sachin Desai. The response to the precaution dose had gone down drastically after Covid cases dipped between February and May. The cases have started slightly rising over the last two weeks, which is also prompting people to seek a booster dose. Currently, only residents over 60 years of age and healthcare/frontline workers are eligible for a free booster dose. Citizens in the 18-59 age bracket are not privy to the free booster shot under the country’s Covid vaccination programme, and have to bear the cost of the shot at designated private hospitals. This is also one of the prominent reasons why most districts have registered extremely low consumption of the booster dose in the 18-59 age bracket, while a few have recorded zero jabs. The Union government allowed the booster shot for the 18-59 age group at private centres from April 10 this year. Earlier in June, state health minister Rajesh Tope had asked the Centre to give the booster dose for free for the younger group to push up vaccination numbers.

Covid-19: Booster doses for 60-plus group surge in Maharashtra
Covid cases drop slightly in Maharashtra; CM Uddhav Thackeray urges warkaris to use masks
Times of India | 8 hours ago | 25-06-2022 | 06:15 am
Times of India
8 hours ago | 25-06-2022 | 06:15 am

MUMBAI: While Covid-19 cases dipped in Maharashtra on Friday, chief minister Uddhav Thackeray appealed to lakhs of warkaris walking towards Pandharpur during Ashadhi Wari to use face masks to minimise the risk of Covid-19 transmission. The state had registered its highest single-day tally in this surge on Thursday at 5,218, but cases dropped by 20% to 4,205 on Friday. Mumbai saw a 24% drop, with 1,898 cases registered on Friday. "We had a problem updating our data on the ICMR website for a couple of days and that led to a bunching up of cases on Thursday. But the data is now updated and Mumbai is back to reporting less than 2,000 cases a day," said BMC executive health officer Dr Mangala Gomare. Two nonagenarians with chronic conditions succumbed to Covid-related complications in Mumbai while the neighbouring Thane city registered a death. Daily hospitalisations which had gone past 100 dropped on Friday to 96. The daily test positivity rate which had increased to 20% a few days back was 12% for the second consecutive day. Dr Gomare said that cases should start plateauing soon. Dr Gautam Bhansali, who is a member of the state Covid task force, said that despite the surge, patients are recovering with minimum medication within a few days. "There is no need to panic at all,'' he said. The surge has been limited to five districts-Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Palghar and Raigad-but the state administration is worried about the Pandharpur yatra. Of the 4,205 cases on Thursday, 3,354 (80%) were detected in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. A state official said, "Active cases in the state have crossed 25,000 as compared to 626 a couple of months back. In this backdrop, the chief minister held a video-conference instructing district collectors, municipal commissioners and district police superintendents to take steps to reduce the risk of transmission of Covid-19.'' Meanwhile, another patient of BA.5 variant has been detected in Nagpur. State surveillance officer Dr Pradip Awate said a fully vaccinated 27-year-old female tested Covid-positive on June 19. "She was mildly symptomatic initially but has since become asymptomatic and is stable and in home isolation,'' he added. The total tally of BA.4 and BA.5 variant cases in the state has increased to 26-15 in Pune, five in Mumbai, four in Nagpur and two in Thane.

Covid cases drop slightly in Maharashtra; CM Uddhav Thackeray urges warkaris to use masks
Chemists in Maharashtra districts with high Covid cases to keep records of self-test kit buyers
Times of India | 9 hours ago | 25-06-2022 | 05:04 am
Times of India
9 hours ago | 25-06-2022 | 05:04 am

PUNE: With Covid cases rising in the state, especially in Mumbai, Pune, Thane, Palghar and Raigad, the state health department has directed chemists' associations to maintain records of buyers of self-test kits or rapid antigen kits so that they can be shared with local authorities. "Considering the sudden rise in Covid cases, we have directed manufacturers, chemists/pharmacists supplying and selling home antigen testing kits to provide information to us. There may be some cases that have been tested with home test kits but not reported on the ICMR portal. In such cases, we cannot track the patient and it becomes difficult for us to contain the spread of the virus," said a state public health official. Anil Belkar, secretary, chemists' association, Pune district, said that they have circulated the message to all retail medical stores to ensure that details of the buyers are noted down so that they can be shared with the local health officials, if required. The health department had directed chemists to maintain records of buyers of self-testing kits during the third wave, too. Now, again with cases rising in mainly five districts, chemists have been directed to ensure that details are noted down diligently. Association members of the state chemists and druggists' association said that many people are buying the testing kits from online sites, which also needs to be monitored. Chemists have also been told to educate buyers of self-testing kits about the application they need to download. Through the app, the test data is connected with the ICMR portal and citizens have to ensure that it is uploaded within the given time frame. State surveillance expert Dr Pradip Awate told TOI that if self-testing kits are used then the data should be uploaded. "With cases increasing in clusters, we need to stress more on RT-PCR tests than RAT tests," he said. Those detected positive with RAT have to follow it up with RT-PCR tests as samples have to be sent for genome sequencing," he said. Dr Awate said that while the daily cases in the state are hovering around 4,000-5,000, severity of cases continues to be low.

Chemists in Maharashtra districts with high Covid cases to keep records of self-test kit buyers
Rebel group in no hurry to leave Guwahati until key issues resolved: MLA
Times of India | 9 hours ago | 25-06-2022 | 04:39 am
Times of India
9 hours ago | 25-06-2022 | 04:39 am

NASHIK: Former minister and Shiv Sena MLA Deepak Kesarkar, who is now in the Eknath Shinde camp, told TOI on Friday said the rebel group is in no hurry to return to Maharashtra until two issues - the possible disqualification of 16 dissident MLAs and the appointment of the chief whip in the legislative assembly- are resolved. Amid escalating political developments, Kesarkar said it was a 'bizarre' strategy that the MVA coalition was adopting to corner the Eknath Shinde group. "I wonder if they are aware of the constitutional provisions. The petition for disqualification of the 16 MLAs is on ground that they did not attend a meeting of Sena legislators. This meeting was called at very short notice and they must remember that Maharashtra is a big state and, in some parts, it takes at least 10-12 hours to reach Mumbai. How can these MLAs travel from their home district to Mumbai in such a short time? " he said. On the appointment of a chief whip, the dissident MLA said, "How can they have their chief whip when their house strength has dwindled to 15 members. Our group has the support of 38 Sena MLAs. These moves are completely unconstitutional. If there is a vote of no-confidence, the downfall of the present government will be imminent." On their next stepsKesarkar: We are a group of 50 MLAs backing Eknath Shinde. The group is in no hurry to leave Guwahati till two vital issues are resolved. We will deal with these issues patiently and legally. If these 16 MLAs are disqualified by the deputy speaker, we will definitely challenge it in the court. It is mandatory to hear the MLAs before he (deputy speaker) gives his decision. Moreover, we have the support of 38 of our own MLAs and the Sena's chief whip must be from our group. We will go all out legally to nullify the appointment of the chief whip made by the rival faction. On reconciliation with MatoshreeKesarkar: The onus of a reconciliation lies entirely with CM Uddhav Thackeray and leaders of the rival faction. We have already made it clear that Sena must not have any truck with Congress and NCP. Although our rival faction has been claiming Sena would not have any understanding with those two parties, the CM is holding a meeting with Sharad Pawar to discuss the present situation and trying to wriggle out of the tight spot for the MVA government's survival. The Shinde group will not take any U-turn on its stand under any circumstances.

Rebel group in no hurry to leave Guwahati until key issues resolved: MLA