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State News

Mar 18, 2020

Maharashtra reports 2 new cases of COVID-19, total now 43

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Two new cases of COVID-19, one each from Pune and Mumbai were reported from Maharashtra today, taking the total number of infected to 43. A 68-year-old Mumbai women who tested positive for the infection today is a close relative of US-returned person who was found infected two days ago. On the other hand, a 32-year-old Pune based woman, with a travel history of the Netherlands and Dubai also tested positive today.

In order to review screening and testing facilities, Maharashtra’s Health Minister Rajesh Tope visited Pune’s National Institute of Virology and held discussions with the staff members. Later, addressing a press conference, Mr. Tope said, three new testing labs will be operationalised tomorrow onwards while five others will also be up and running by next week. The labs at Mumbai’s Kasturba Hospital and KEM apart from one at B J Medical in Pune will start testing coronavirus samples from tomorrow. He said these labs will be able to test 180 to 250 samples daily. The minister further informed that out of the 43 infected persons, only nine were cases of local transmission, which means the local people came in contact with the 33 others who had a travel history of visiting coronavirus affected countries.

Urging incoming travellers to maintain discipline and strictly follow home quarantine rules, Mr. Tope said screening of all air passengers is going on. The minister said isolation wards have been set up in all district and most private hospitals. He said, all concerned district authorities have been provided adequate funds to purchase necessary equipment like ventilators, sanitizers and masks.  

With an aim to contain the spread of infection, Maharashtra Government has directed state transport authorities to run their services at half the capacity. Instructions have been given that no passenger must be allowed to stand and travel inside buses and sufficient distance is maintained between two passengers. While private organisations have been asked to allow their employees to work from home, instructions have been passed on to restrict employee presence to 50 percent in all other cases.

The government is also mulling to restrict working hours of shop selling non-essential commodities. The government has however assured that all essential items, besides medical and grocery will be made available and efforts will be made to ensure that hoarding is prevented.

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