Cases outpace recoveries in Maharashtra again

Over 2,600 deaths added in ‘reconciliation’ process; Pune reports spike of 1,400 cases; 721 new cases in Mumbai

For the second consecutive day, COVID-19 cases outweighed recoveries in Maharashtra on Friday. Just 8,104 patients were discharged while the State recorded 11,766 new cases as its active case tally rose to 1,61,704.

A total of 2,619 deaths were added to the State’s progressive death toll, of which 273 occurred during the last 48 hours and 133 occurred during the past week. As many as 2,213 fatalities have been added in the ongoing ‘reconciliation’ process, as per the State Health Department. The State’s total death toll has climbed to 1,06,367 with the case fatality rate rising to 1.81%. The total cases have reached 58,87,853, while cumulative recoveries have risen to 56,16,857 with the recovery rate dipping to 95.4%.

“Of 3,76,11,005 laboratory samples tested thus far, 58,87,853 (with the average case positivity falling incrementally to 15.65%) have returned positive, with over 2.55 lakh samples being tested in the last 24 hours,” said State Surveillance Officer Dr. Pradeep Awate.

Pune reported 1,400 new cases, taking its tally to 10,33,063. As per State Health Department figures, 50 deaths were reported as the toll rose to 13,638. As per district authorities, the active case tally has declined to 14,000, while the total death toll had reached over 18,000.

Mumbai reported 721 new cases to take its total case tally to 7,14,216, while the active count has declined to 17,931. As many as 24 fatalities took the city’s death count to 15,079. Mumbai had been moved to ‘Level 2’ in the government’s second week notification for the unlock process. Mumbai’s case positivity rate has declined to 4.4%, while bed occupancy has increased.

In western Maharashtra, Kolhapur reported more than 1,700 new cases, taking its total case tally to 1,30,322, of whom 16,947 are active. Twenty-five deaths saw the cumulative death toll rise to 4,015. Neighbouring Satara reported 715 new cases and 22 deaths, taking its total cases to 1,78,290, of whom 10,369 are active. Its death toll has risen to 3,556.

Sangli saw more than 1,300 new cases and eight deaths. The total case tally stands at 1,36,756, with the active cases declining to 11,090. Its total death toll reached 3,332.

Ahmednagar reported 697 cases and 20 deaths as its total death toll rose to 3,919 and the total cases reached 2,59,184, of whom 5,197 are active.

Curbs to be eased in Pune

With Pune city’s case positivity rate declining steadily, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Friday announced a further relaxation of restrictions from June 14, with shops, restaurants and hotels to be permitted to open for longer hours.

Mr. Pawar, however, stressed that the decision would be applicable from Monday only if the city’s case positivity rate remained within the 5% limit as earlier decreed by the State government in its unlocking order.

As per the new relaxations, essential and non-essential shops can remain open till 7 p.m., while restaurants and hotels will be permitted to remain open till 10 p.m. Malls will be allowed to function at 50% capacity while libraries, too, will be opened to the public.

The Deputy Chief Minister, who reviewed the pandemic situation in the district along with senior administration officials, said that the restrictions would continue to remain in the Pimpri-Chinchwad township and Pune rural areas, where the case positivity rate exceeds 5%.

“We are considering relaxing a number of curbs in Pune city which has seen a steady decline in cases. However, cinema and theatres will continue to remain shut. We will take a call on them next week,” Mr. Pawar said.

“The positivity rate in Pimpri-Chinchwad and Pune rural is 5.8% and 12% respectively. So, as per the opinion of experts, we have decided to remain cautious and continue the present level of restrictions in these areas for another week,” said Mr. Pawar, remarking that medical experts had advised the government against the sudden opening up of cities and towns.

The city, which had reported daily surges of more than 7,000 cases two months ago, has now been reporting less than 300 cases in the past few weeks. The city presently has less than 3,500 active cases. “Even if Pune’s positivity rate is within 5%, people must strictly adhere to pandemic rules,” he said.

Reviewing the vaccination drive, the Deputy Chief Minister said that efforts were on to speed up the vaccination in Pune district. “We have been following up on the availability of vaccines and vaccinations have been started for the disabled as well. We have a daily target of one lakh vaccinations and I’m confident of large numbers of people being inoculated by the end of August,” Mr. Pawar said.

Given that Pune’s rural belt continues to be an area of concern with a high case positivity, Mr. Pawar said that the rural infrastructure must be shored up further in the event of a third wave.

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