'Maharashtra in beginning of second wave of COVID-19': Centre urges state govt to strict and effective containment strategies
Photo Credit: PTI

Amid rising coronavirus cases in the state, the Centre has urged the Maharashtra government to focus on strict and effective containment strategies. In a letter to the Maharashtra government, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that Maharashtra is "in the beginning of a second wave of COVID-19 pandemic".

According to a report by the NDTV, the letter by Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan was written to Maharashtra Chief Secretary after the central team's visit last week.

The Union Health Secretary in the letter wrote: "Maharashtra is in the beginning of a second wave of COVID-19 pandemic. Efforts to track, test, isolate cases and quarantine contacts are limited there with no adherence to COVID-19 appropriate behaviour among people both in rural and urban areas."

While urging the state to focus on containment strategies, Rajesh Bhushan said, "Containment strategy needs to be re-introduced, containment zones must be better defined based on contact listing, digital mapping of cases and contacts and should be much larger to include the area of influence cases/contacts. The buffer zones need to be delineated. The perimeter control needs to be strictly enforced. For each Containment Zone, the Rapid Response Teams should develop an operational plan.

In a strong-worded letter, Bhushan asked the state administration to bring down the state’s test positivity rate, and step up contact-tracing and vaccinations.

“The testing has to be augmented to bring the test positivity rate to less than 5%. Whereas the mainstay of testing shall be RT-PCR, the State should also utilize RAT kits as per ICMR guidance especially in containment zones and high-risk settings like super-spreader events, bus stops, railway stations, slums, densely populated areas, etc.,” the Union health secretary wrote in his letter.

Pointing towards contact tracing, the Health Secretary's letter mentioned that the case-contact ratio is more than 1:20 in the state.

"Though it appears high, a deep dive into the methodology of contact tracing revealed that the main concept of contact tracing was not clearly understood by the field level staff, who were mainly listing the immediate family and neighborhood contacts," he added.

The Health Ministry Central team in its observation had written that night curfew, partial lockdowns and weekend lockdowns have a limited impact on curbing the virus transmission.

According to the Central team, some districts were found implementing/contemplating to implement measures such as night curfew, partial lockdowns, weekend lockdowns etc. (Aurangabad, Nashik and Jalgaon).

"These measures may have only very limited impact on containing/suppressing the transmission. Hence, the District Administration should focus on containment strategy as per the guidelines laid out by the Centre," the letter said, expressing its views on covid management.

While the positivity rate in Maharashtra stands at 13.21 per cent, the recovery rate is 92.21 per cent. The fatality rate in the state is 2.28 per cent.

Maharashtra reported 15,051 new coronavirus cases on Monday, taking the state's caseload to 23,29,464, while 48 fatalities took the death toll to 52,909, the health department said.

As many as 10,671 coronavirus patients were discharged, taking the rally of recoveries to 21,44,743. With 92,363 coronavirus tests conducted during the day, the total number of samples tested went up to 1,76,09,248. There are 1,30,547active cases in the state. The recovery rate is 92.07 per cent while the case fatality rate is 2.27 percent.

(With inputs from ANI and PTI)

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