Maharashtra continues to reel under COVID, seeks doctors from Kerala
In just over two months since the first COVID-19 death was recorded in the state, the tally has reached a record high of 1792, with close to a hundred people dying in a single day.
As of Tuesday this week, Maharashtra has recorded 1,792 deaths due to the coronavirus. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region, which includes Mumbai and surrounding satellite towns, has been one of the worst-hit regions in the state, accounting for 32,974 cases. The city is seeing an alarming increase in cases at the rate of 1500 per day. The state as a whole has recorded 54,758 cases, according to the health department. The number of recovered patients in the state is 16,954.
This week the state government announced that multiple COVID-19 treatment hospitals with a combined capacity of nearly 7,000 beds will come up in several locations in Mumbai city and its suburbs. Maharashtra accounts for nearly 40% of the total cases in India. With an average testing rate of 13,000 per million people in Mumbai alone, the state has carried out nearly 3.9 lakh tests so far. Across Maharashtra, 5.67 people remain under home quarantine, while 35,200 people are in institutional quarantine.
The state has reached out to Kerala to seek assistance in the management of COVID-19 cases and also to ask for a temporary contingent of 50 doctors and 100 nurses experienced in dealing with the pandemic. In a letter to the Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja, Maharashtra has said that its health workers are functioning at full capacity and they might need new hands to man the new COVID-19 facilities, like the dedicated 600-bed center being built at Mahalakshmi Race Course. The state has offered to pay Rs 80,000 – 2 lakh per month for doctors and Rs 30,000 a month for nurses. This is in addition to accommodation, meals, medication, and personal protective equipment which will be taken care of by the state.
In the midst of this, the state is planning a graded relaxation of the lockdown, though this will not happen until the end of the month. This will give the state enough time to prepare for the eventual surge in cases post relaxation, according to Chief secretary Ajoy Mehta. Even in districts like Nashik, which has so far handled the outbreak well with only a few cases in the past few days, officials are careful about removing restrictions because they don’t have the capacity to handle a surge. The World Health Organization too warned of an “immediate second peak” in cases if restrictions were lifted too soon.
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