Mumbai: Mumbai reported its first two confirmed coronavirus cases on Wednesday, even as three more cases were confirmed in Pune and one in Nagpur, raising the number of patients who have tested positive for coronavirus in Maharashtra to 11.
There are eight coronavirus positive cases in Pune alone.
In Mumbai, a married couple, both senior citizens, tested positive for the virus. They were among six persons who had been quarantined on Tuesday, and were part of a 40-member group which had returned to Mumbai from Dubai; it included a couple in Pune who first tested positive on Monday.
The other four, who had been quarantined at Kasturba Hospital, tested negative, and have been shifted to a general ward. They will be discharged after a few days, doctors said.
A total of eight patients were admitted to the isolation ward at Kasturba Hospital on Wednesday, including three family members of the married couple who tested positive.
A 60-year-old woman was referred to Kasturba after being admitted at Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Bhiwandi on Wednesday, where doctors suspected that she may had been exposed to coronavirus.
She, along with her family members, had visited Pune to attend a wedding ceremony of a relative. However, on Wednesday evening, she tested negative.
Dr Padeep Awate, state surveillance officer, Maharashtra public health department, confirmed on Wednesday that there were a total of 11 confirmed cases in the state – two in Mumbai, eight in Pune and one in Nagpur.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who chaired a cabinet meeting and another meeting with a delegation of doctors from private hospitals and department officers, appealed to the people not to panic as the government and the health machinery was equipped to effectively deal with the situation.
He informed that those detected positive are part of a group which returned to Maharahstra on March 1 from a trip to Dubai. '' Contact has been established with all 40 travellers, of whom three are from Karnataka. Reports of four travellers are negative,'' he said.
Thackeray said the government, which is reviewing the situation after every two hours, may take a decision to close down Class1 to 9 schools in Pune depending on the situation.
The government has set up a five-member committee headed by the Chief Secretary to review the anti- coronavirus measures to be taken from time to time.
Thackeray said the ongoing budget session of state legislature, scheduled till March 20, may be curtailed on March 14 or 15 after completing the scheduled business in view of the coronavirus situation.
ISOLATION WARDS: The government has stepped up state-wide efforts to tackle coronavirus, including creation of additional isolation wards with 700 beds in district hospitals and hospitals under medical education department and municipal corporations, deployment of trained doctors and medical staff and availability of additional ventilators and oxygen cylinders and also medicines and masks.
STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE: The government will put in place a standard operating procedure to tackle the situation. The government proposes to set up coronavirus testing laboratories in private hospitals after seeking necessary accreditation from the Centre in order to reduce the pressure on the Pune based National Institute of Virology.
The government will deploy more doctors and improve screening facility at the international airports to avoid patients getting any other infection.
Till date, 1,38,968 passengers who have travelled on 1,195 planes have been screened at the Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur airports.
PRIVATE LABORATORIES: Thackeray said that the testing will be allowed in private laboratories only after the approval of the Ministry of Health. He clarified that there is no need for everyone to wear a mask, but they should use handkerchief and wash hands quite often.
CM BRIEFED: A delegation of doctors from Mumbai's private hospitals Hinduja, Leelavati, Nanavati and Jaslok led by former public health minister Dr Deepak Sawant briefed Thackeray and other ministers on slew of measures to be taken against coronavirus.
Sawant said there is need to modernise the ongoing screening facility at the airports and screening procedure requires some fine tuning. ''The private hospital staff will be trained on handling guidelines for Covid 19 infections and treatment of the patients,'' he added.
Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar suggested that travellers on vacation abroad should communicate their return journey details to the state health department.
Minister of Public Health Rajesh Tope informed that the government has supplied the personal protective medical equipment kits to the hospital staff across the state.
(With inputs by Swapnil Mishra and Narendra Gupta)