Maharashtra reports over 3k Covid cases, call for masks grows
The Maharashtra government held a meeting to review the situation earlier this week, where it was decided that the Covid outbreak will be observed further before decisions are taken on bringing back any Covid-related curb, especially since there is no spike in hospitalisations just yet.
Maharashtra recorded 3,081 new cases of Covid-19 and the test positivity rate in the state Capital, where close to 2,000 new cases were registered, leapt past the 10% mark, data released by the state government showed on Friday.
The numbers are the highest since January-February, when the state’s Omicron variant-induced waive tapered off. The government held a meeting to review the situation earlier this week, where it was decided that the outbreak will be observed further before decisions are taken on bringing back any Covid-related curb, especially since there is no spike in hospitalisations just yet.
Sanjeev Kumar, additional municipal commissioner and in charge of public health at the Brihanmumbai Municipal said Mumbai will wait for directions from the state government. “Unless the state government orders fresh curbs in Mumbai, the city will function normally like how it is doing now.”
The hospital occupancy rate on Friday was 1.48% and 1,873, or 96%, of the 1,956 cases reported in the day were asymptomatic.
“The numbers are rising because of increasing in test numbers. We are awaiting a detailed report from the National Institute of Virology, to understand if there has been a new sub-lineage of the virus. Because so far most of the infections are being caused due to Omicron variant,” said Dr Mangala Gomare, executive health officer in BMC.
State Surveillance officer Pradeep Awate said the situation was under control. “The Covid-19 cases are confined to specific pockets like Pune, Mumbai and areas adjacent to Mumbai like Thane, Palghar and Raigad. We are hardly seeing any cases across the state like what happened during the third wave,” he said.
Experts, however, urged the government to make masks mandatory. “Is the Government waiting for cases to spread exponentially and then make masks compulsory?” asked Dr Wiqar Shaikh, professor of medicine, Grant Medical College and Sir JJ Hospital.
“Making masks compulsory and imposing fines on violators will force people to wear them. Appealing alone will not work… Mask mandate will bring down cases significantly and help us tackle the impending fourth wave,” he added.