The Maharashtra Government will issue an order on Thursday for further tightening the restrictions in a serious bid to curb the virus spread and tackle the threat of the Delta Plus Variant in the state. Even though the government has announced Level 5 unlock strategy considering the positivity rate and oxygen bed occupancy, the government proposes to put curbs on movement of people and vehicles, inter-state and intra-state travel and also crowding at the markets. The decision to impose additional stringent restrictions was unanimously approved by the cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray at its meeting held on Wednesday.
The trigger for fresh restrictions is also the rise in COVID 19 cases which on Wednesday crossed 10,000. The state has recorded 21 Delta Plus Variant cases comprising 9 from Ratnagiri, 7 from Jalgaon, 2 from Mumbai, and 1 each from Palghar, Sindhudurg, and Thane, noted state health minister Rajesh Tope.
A senior bureaucrat told Free Press Journal, ‘’ The union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan in his letter to the Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte explained that the Delta Plus Variant, which is currently a Variant of Concern has increased transmissibility, stronger binding to receptors of lung cells and potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response.’’ Further, the variant is found in Ratnagiri and Jalgaon districts.
‘’The public health response, in this case while broadly remaining the same, has to become more focused and stringent. Thus, you are requested to take up immediate containment measures in these districts and clusters including preventing crowds and intermingling of people, widespread testing, prompt tracing as well as vaccine coverage on a priority basis,’’ said union health secretary in his communication to the state.
Further, the health secretary also asked the state government to ensure that adequate samples of positive persons are sent to the designated laboratories of The Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) promptly so that the clinical epidemiological correlations can be made.
The government’s decision to bring in more curbs came on a day when the state reported 10,066 fresh COVID 19 cases and 163 deaths. The fatality rate is still high at 1.99%. The progressive cases are reported at 5997587 with 121859 active cases.