Coronavirus in Maharashtra: COVID-19 cases surge in rural districts of state

The was a sharp rise in the number of people under home and institutional quarantine across the state -- 22.69 and 9.55 per cent, respectively -- in the past seven days. Officials have attributed this surge to the increase in daily cases in the rural districts of Maharashtra. Experts have warned, these numbers will increase further in the next 12 days if the public fails to adhere to the Covid norms.

According to the data provided by the state health department, as many as 1,82,970 people were home-quarantined on February 16 and this number went up to 2,24,054 on February 22. The number of those in institutional quarantine went up to 1,891 from 1,786 during the same period.

Dr Deepak Baid, the president of the Association of Medical Consultants, said the reason for the rising numbers was asymptomatic patients were being asked to stay home. Currently, while there is a drop in the number of severe cases of infection across the state, there are a number of asymptomatic patients who are not hospitalised but kept in mandatory home quarantine for 14 days.

“More than 80 per cent of patients are asymptomatic and have been asked to be home- or institutional-quarantined, based on their priorities, while only 18 per cent of the patients need hospitalisation. But they are also discharged within seven days or once their reports are negative,” he said.

State Surveillance Officer Dr Pradeep Awate said there were many factors due to which cases had increased, leading to a surge in home and institutional quarantine across the state.

Laxity in following Covid norms and the increased movement of people were the main factors for the surge, he said. “Covid- inappropriate behaviour at the weddings or family function has caused problems across the state. Similarly, more than 80 per cent went home for gram panchayat elections, causing the virus to spread faster among citizens,” he said.

Dr Rahul Pandit, a member of the state’s Covid taskforce, said there was no need to panic, as it was not a second wave even though cases had increased. He felt the situation could be controlled if everyone were to strictly follow Covid norms.

“Citizens should understand that following appropriate Covid protocols will not only save them but their family and friends from contracting the virus. Another lockdown is not an option. If people are careful about wearing masks in public places, then cases will drop in the next week,” he said.

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