Covid-19: Central team ‘suggests’ total lockdown in two Maharashtra districts as cases plateau

Maharashtra has faced the brunt of Covid-19 in India, reporting the highest number of cases and fatalities since the outbreak of the pandemic. (Picture courtesy: IE)

A central team that visited Maharashtra’s Kolhapur and Sangli districts to study the progress of Covid-19 containment measures has suggested a total lockdown, The Indian Express has learnt. The two are among the state’s top districts of concern. The expert team was surprised that transmission of the virus in the two districts showed no signs of stopping despite several routine measures being undertaken.

The state’s health authorities, however, said the central team was yet to file a report.

Rajesh Tope, the Maharashtra Health Minister, said 10 districts had a higher positivity rate when compared with the rest. The central team that visited some of these districts stressed on measures such as testing, contact tracing, as well as vaccination. Tope added that he would visit Delhi shortly to reiterate Maharashtra’s request for more vaccine supply,

National Centre for Disease Control Director Dr. Sujeet Singh told The Indian Express that the authorities were exploring the presence of a variant of concern that was preventing Covid-19 cases from declining further in these regions.

According to Dr. Shashank Joshi, an expert on the state’s Covid task force, the trend of infections was definitely a concern. He said the infections were picking up in Sangli, Kolhapur, Pune rural, Satara, as well as Ahmednagar and Nandurbar districts. Dr. Joshi the state’s Western belt had emerged as a cause for concern, adding that they had an active virus circulating and something was not right.

Maharashtra has faced the brunt of Covid-19 in India, reporting the highest number of cases and fatalities since the outbreak of the pandemic. The state had a total caseload of over 62 lakh till Monday, while more than 127,097 people succumbed to the virus. On Monday, Maharashtra reported 6,017 fresh cases — the lowest caseload addition since February 22 — and 66 deaths.

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