NCP leader Dhananjay Munde
NCP leader Dhananjay Munde

Mumbai: Maharashtra Social Justice Minister and NCP leader Dhananjay Munde is coronavirus positive and has been admitted at Breach Candy hospital. He is asymptomatic and his condition is stable, though he has a minor problem of breathlessness. Munde's private staff, including the cook, drivers and personal assistant, had been infected before him. He is the second NCP Minister after Jitendra Awhad to test positive. Congress minister Ashok Chavan, who had also tested positive, has since been discharged.

Both have duly recovered. Munde, after returning from his home town Beed, had attended the cabinet meeting on Tuesday and also participated on Wednesday in the NCP foundation day function at Mumbai. Among others present at this meeting were Deputy CM Ajit Pawar, Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope and several ministers of the state cabinet. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray attended the cabinet meeting through video conferencing. After Munde was declared positive, there was a discussion among his cabinet colleagues whether they should go in for selfquarantine.

However, Tope said there is no need to quarantine ministers because social distancing was adhered to in the meeting hall. ‘‘All ministers were wearing masks as per ICMR guidelines and there is no need for any minister to undergo a test. No one in the cabinet present displayed any symptoms of the infection,’’ he noted. Tope said the NCP's foundation day event lasted only five minutes and state NCP chief Jayant Patil made a short speech.

"Only five NCP leaders were present for the flag hoisting. Social distancing was strictly observed," he added. Tope said Munde is a fighter and will win the fight against the virus. Munde was not a high-risk contact, he said.

"High-risk contacts are ones with whom you stay throughout the day and not during an hour-long meeting," he added.

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