Coronavirus Cutbreak: No community spread yet but Maharashtra gets set for worst

Updated: Mar 24, 2020, 07:43 IST | Dharmendra Jore | Mumbai

Maharashtra will soon be able to test 2,200 samples per day across government, private labs; however state stares at blood shortage

More labs are being readied to test samples
More labs are being readied to test samples

COVID-19 infection patterns in Maharashtra and the patients' history has reassured the state administration that the state hasn't had a community transmission of the virus yet, though the number of positive cases increased to 89 by Monday morning, with Mumbai having added 15 more cases.

Public health minister Rajesh Tope said it was somewhat good news not only in the state but also in the country where similar observations have been made. This may prove helpful for healthcare services as the country has almost entered stage III of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"I want to make it very clear that we have not entered the community spread phase," said Tope, adding that the eight patients who tested positive over Sunday and Monday were in high-risk contact with their relatives with foreign travel history.

2,200 tests daily by Mar 27
The state has geared up to increase per-day testing facilities in Mumbai and the state to 2,200. All state-run medical colleges will have a laboratory by March 27. This will be in addition to private hospitals and labs that are awaiting approvals from the Central agency. Currently, only six labs are working overtime to test 600-800 samples.

Medical education minister Amit Deshmukh said in addition to medical colleges, seven private labs in Mumbai will also add up to the existing capacity as each will have at least 100 tests carried daily. The medical colleges will conduct 800 tests and private players will be doing at least 600 tests daily.

Island city guardian minister Aslam Sheikh told mid-day that JJ and civic hospitals will create an additional 500 beds for Covid-19 patients in Mumbai.

Expressway sealed
Maharashtra has closed its border with Goa, and was in the process of blocking entry from Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat. The vehicles are being checked and only essential supply transportation is allowed.

Amid promulgation of section 144, Mumbai's entry points were sealed for private vehicles which are taken out for non-essential purpose. The spurt in vehicular traffic at Thane and Navi Mumbai toll plazas prompted this stern action on Monday morning.

The Mumbai-Pune expressway was also sealed for private traffic. Violators were booked.

Tope said the Centre had asked states to strictly enforce lockdown. "Legal action will be taken against violators. We have issued orders to disperse crowds at various entry points of Mumbai including Mulund and others. Police can take action under section 144," said Tope.

Mar 27
Date by which all state-run medical colleges will have a laboratory for Covid-19 tests

State faces blood shortage

Health minister Tope said the blood stock in the state was fast depleting and the storage in banks would suffice only for 15 days. "This is a major concern but we can tide over this also if we conduct small blood donation camps. I request individuals to donate at the blood banks and if possible hold smaller camps," he said.

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