The Maharashtra government is likely to take a decision on a lockdown in view of a serious surge in COVID cases in Mumbai to 20,181 on Thursday, state health minister Rajesh Tope has said. Mumbai had reported 15, 166 cases the day before.
The state on Thursday logged 36,265 new coronavirus cases, 36 per cent more than the previous day while 13 more patients succumbed to the disease. The new cases included 79 Omicron infections, taking the tally of those infected with the variant to 797.
The state’s COVID tally now stands at 67,93,297, while the death toll has increased to 1,41,594.
The health department has said that of the fresh cases in Mumbai, 85 per cent patients were asymptomatic. However, 1,170 of them have been hospitalised with 106 are on oxygen support.
Reports said, Tope in a meeting with NCP chief Sharad Pawar, additional chief secretary (health) Pradeep Vyas and other officials had discussed the possibility of imposing a lockdown in view of the rising cases. No decision in this regard, however, has been taken so far.
“The government is studying the Mumbai numbers very carefully and a final decision will be taken by the Chief Minister,” Tope told reporters.
He said that the state government has not yet considered shutting down local trains in Mumbai and imposing inter-district travel restrictions as the number of hospitalisations was still low.
The state health department had earlier said that a lockdown or strict curbs are likely to be imposed if the demand for medical oxygen crosses 800 metric tonnes per day or when 40 per cent of hospital beds for COVID patients are occupied.
The BMC had said that the possibility of a lockdown may be mulled when daily cases go beyond the 20,000-mark.
The slum-dominated and densely populated Dharavi area of Mumbai recorded 107 new coronavirus cases, highest since the pandemic began in March 2020, civic officials said. The previous record of daily cases in the area was 99, recorded on April 8, 2021, during the second wave of the pandemic. The state reported 9,727 more cases compared to Wednesday when 26,538 infections had come to light.
A health department bulletin said 1,70,429 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours, taking their cumulative number in the state to 6,99,47,436. The state’s active cases stand at 1,14,847, it added.
In Mumbai, the hospitalisation rate has not increased significantly and 80 per cent of hospital beds in the city were still unoccupied, Tope told reporters.
A similar rise in infections had been seen during the second wave too last year, but this time around the demand for medical oxygen and the number of deaths have not increased, which was a positive sign, he added. The new infections are seen to be affecting the upper respiratory tract, including the nose and throat, more, and not so much the lungs, the health minister said.
Meanwhile, Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Bharati Pawar on Thursday said she has tested positive for coronavirus. Bharati Pawar is the Lok Sabha member from Dindori in Nashik district of Maharashtra. Hemant Godse, a fellow MP from the district, had tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday.
On the inoculation drive against coronavirus, the health department said 13,64,60,096 doses have been administered in the state so far. Of this, 3,16,746 doses were administered to children in the age group of 15-17 years.
(With inputs from agencies)