There has been a 40 per cent rise in the number of COVID-19 cases across Maharashtra during the last month as compared to January this year when the cases had dropped 12 per cent.
According to the data provided by the state health department, there were 90,673 cases between January 1 and 31 which increased to 1,26,723 during February. Officials have attributed this surge to the laxity on the part of the citizens in not following the COVID norms and increase in the number of coronavirus testing facilities across the state.
The spurt in the number of cases began in the second week of February, which is being seen as a result of general laxity, mutation of COVID-19 strains and unlocking. Moreover with the state's COVID-19 pandemic curve flattening, the state started to ease restrictions that were imposed to break the chain and control the spread and transmission of the virus.
“We are urging citizens to follow COVID protocols as we do not want the same situation as it was in the month of June, July and September when cases were on peak. Moreover we have intensified all our protocols to curb the cases and have alerted all the ward officers to take strict action if the cases in their area have surged,” he said.
Dr Subhash Salunkhe, technical adviser to the Maharashtra government on COVID-19, said it is very difficult to say whether this is a second wave, but the virus is showing a concentrated spurt in some areas like Vidarbha, starting from Nagpur, Amravati to Aurangabad (in Marathwada region). Now, the virus is slowly getting transmitted to other districts like Pune and Mumbai.
"If we do not control it, it will spread to other states in the country. Whether it will spread 100 per cent, nobody is sure, but yes, it has the potential," he said.
Health experts said that there is no need for any new strategy to tackle the situation as the existing strategies are quite adequate and effective.
“Lockdown is the last resort. Setting up of micro- containment zones, restrictions on movement in containment areas, increased surveillance, contact-tracing and increase in testing and isolation of active cases are some of the key steps which can check spread of the virus," he said.