Health Minister Rajesh Tope
Health Minister Rajesh Tope

Mumbai: Maharashtra is set to expand it's healthcare facilities after recording the highest number of positive cases of novel coronavirus so far.

State Minister of Health Rajesh Tope said, on Sunday, that the testing facilities provided in the laboratories of the state hospitals will be increased to meet the need. “Presently, the laboratories at Kasturba hospital can test up to 100 cases per day. We will be expanding the facilities to ensure that as many as 350 tests can be done in a single day,” he said, briefing the press about the precautionary measures the state has adopted in an attempt to tackle the dreaded virus.

Maharashtra has 32 confirmed positive cases of novel coronavirus, including 9 people who are admitted at the civic-run Kasturba hospital. Earlier, on Sunday morning, Tope visited Kasturba hospital and reviewed the wards where confirmed patients are being treated. Apart from the 9 confirmed cases, 80 other suspected patients are being kept in isolation.

“The hospital has a capacity of 80 beds, which is full. We will be increasing the number of beds to 125. Suspected patients will be discharged if their test results are negative,” added Tope.

He also informed that new lab testing facilities will be set up at KEM hospital, JJ hospital, and Haffkine hospital. Besides Mumbai, improvised lab testing facility will be set up at BJ hospital, Pune, and all the state-run hospitals in every district of Maharashtra within the next twenty days.

The health minister stated that out of the 32 people tested positive, 16 have returned from Dubai, four from USA, and one each from France and the Philippines, while four have no foreign travel history.

He also urged the people to strictly follow the machinery of the government. He stated, district collectors are been empowered to take necessary action about locking down rural areas if required.

“Police personnel are being deployed outside hospitals, as at least 350 people are visiting the OPD regularly. The chief minister has also requested the MPSC board to postpone examinations to a date after March 30,” said the health minister.

“Section 144 has been imposed in all tourist spots and public places. We are also urging people to avoid any type of social gathering,” Tope added.

Maharashtra has already invoked the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, that gives wide-ranging powers to officials to enforce measures, including that of lockdown and quarantine required to tackle an outbreak.

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