Beginning of second COVID wave, Centre tells Maharashtra as cases spike

Reinstate administrative mechanism, re-enforce containment steps, state told after Central team’s visit

The Centre wants Maharashtra to reinstate measures that existed before the COVID peak and enforce containment measures recommended by a Central team. Photo: PTI

Amid rising COVID cases, the Centre has written to the Maharashtra government that the state is “in the beginning of a second COVID wave.” Maharashtra reported 15,051 new cases on Tuesday (March 16), taking the state’s caseload to 23,29,464.

As many as 48 deaths took the death toll to 52,909. Mumbai city has reported 1,713 new cases of infection, the state health department said.

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has written to Maharashtra Chief Secretary after the central team’s visit last week, NDTV reported.

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“The Central team inferred that the administrative mechanism should be re-instated to the level witnessed in August -September 2020 to contain/suppress the COVID transmission,” said the Centre.

Also read: New COVID vaccines may not need needles: WHO chief scientist

The Maharashtra government has implemented “strict restrictions.” Those who violate the norms would be punished. The establishments concerned have been ordered to shut down till the pandemic remains in force as per the Centre’s rules.

The Latur district administration has imposed night curfew between 8 pm and 5 am in the district; all weekly markets will remain shut till March 31. Emergency services are exempted.

Maharashtra has 1,26,231 active COVID cases which are mainly from Pune, Nashik, Aloka, Buldhana, and Amravati where the state government has already announced semi-lockdown or restrictions to contain the virus spread.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had earlier warned the people to strictly adhere to COVID norms, including wearing masks and avoiding mass celebrations.

Also read: After Nagpur, Maharashtra CM warns of COVID lockdown in other cities too

According to experts, a combination of factors, including the ever-changing nature of the virus, is responsible for the spike in infections in Maharashtra. A senior state health official told news agency PTI the nature of the virus, the person who has the virus and is transmitting it to others and the overall environment of an area including weather, pollution, housing structure, are the three factors that play behind the ups and downs of a virus. The same can be applicable to the sudden spike in Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region, the official said.

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