Coronavirus in Maharashtra: Poor record in contact tracing; Less than 10 contacts of patients traced in 31 districts

Even though the Maharashtra government has decided to trace and track 20 contacts of every Covid-19 patient as stipulated by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), records show, in 31 districts, this number ranges only between 5.6 and 10 people.

The state's Covid taskforce has suggested increased tracing and tracking of contacts to curb the spread of the virus, in addition to people wearing masks and observing public distancing and hygiene norms. As reported by The Free Press Journal, the state government, plans to increase the detection and tracing of contacts through a door-to-door survey and thereby curb the spread of the infection.

This move comes after repeated calls to the district administration by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackray and Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope, directing stepped-up tracing, tracking, testing and treatment. Already, the number of progressive cases has crossed the 8 lakh-mark while the number of deaths are above two lakhs. On Thursday, there were a record 18,000-plus positive cases in the state.

A public health department official said, in 31 districts less than 10 contacts of Covid-19 patients had been traced, against the stipulated norm of 20 people laid down by the ICMR. ‘‘The rise in cases is a matter of serious concern. They are rapidly increasing, especially in rural areas, although the cases in Mumbai are also surging. Tracing and tracking are therefore important to avoid spread of virus,’’ he noted.

In Ahmednagar, Akola, Amravati, Buldana, Jalna, Nanded, Osmanabad, Palghar, Raigad, Sangli, Satara and Yavatmal districts, the number of contacts of high-risk group patients traced and tracked is 6 to 7.8 per patient, while in Jalna, Tope’s home district, it is seven.

In Kolhapur and Solapur, this number is only 5.6 each, while in the case of low-risk patients, just 1.6 contacts have been traced, in Satara 6.1, in Pune and Parbhani, 5.8 each.

Meanwhile, State Covid Taskforce member Dr Shashank Joshi has said that Maharashtra has been a cause of concern. “We have to close the Covid tap through stringent public health measures. Numbers are not worrying as long as the fatality rate is low. Early diagnosis, treatment and containment is the need of hour and for that, people must cooperate by wearing masks, maintain distancing and sanitisation,’’ he noted.

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