Health Minister Rajesh Tope
Health Minister Rajesh Tope
File Pic

Mumbai: As the number of coronavirus positive patients surged to 45 in Maharashtra, the state government proposes to open eight laboratories in next eight to 10 days in addition to existing three laboratories and expects 10 lakh personal protective equipment kits from the centre.

Besides, there are 600 isolation beds which are ready and 700 ventilators to treat the coronavirus patients across the state.

Minister of Public Health Rajesh Tope, who on Wednesday visited the National Institute of Virology and Naidu hospital at Pune, said three labs at KEM hospital, Kasturbha hospital in Mumbai and at BJ Medical College, Pune will be functional from Thursday.

Further, two labs at Haffkine Institute in Mumbai will be active in the next four days. The government is quite keen to open labs in Dhule, Aurangabad and Solapur. The National Institute of Virology will provide equipment in these proposed eight labs.

"Each one of the 13 labs will test 180 to 250 samples every day, but the National Institute of Virology (NIV) will validate their test results," added Minister Tope.

He informed that the private labs are now allowed to conduct Coronavirus tests as per the Centre’s notification. He however, clarified that they will have to bear cost of equipment for the same.

Tope clarified that as per the Coronavirus testing protocol not all can opt for such tests. ‘’However, those detected with symptoms of Coronavirus and those who have returned to India from the Coronavirus affected countries are entitled for the test,’’ noted Minister Tope.

Tope said the surge in Coronavirus positive patients is due to a 40 member group which returned from Dubai last week. Talking about the coronavirus positive cases in the state, he said that of the total 45 infected persons, 36 were "imported" ones (who had returned to India from abroad), while nine others were cases of "local transmission" (local persons who came in contact with the foreign returnees).

He however, appealed to the citizens not to discriminate Coronavirus suspects and positive patients.

Tope visited the NIV antook stock of its functioning. "I interacted with the researchers there and conveyed gratitude on behalf of the state for the work they have been doing. All these researchers are working round the clock," he informed.

Meanwhile, the Pune District collector has issued directives for the closure of bars, permit rooms, clubs and restaurants except star hotels in Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad until March 31.

This is necessitated as out of the 45 Coronavirus positive patients, there are 11 in Pimpri Chinchwad civic body area and 8 in Pune Municipal Corporation limit.

At Pune’s Naidu hospital there are eight coronavirus positive and 22 suspected patients are admitted. There is a provision of 100 isolation beds ready in the same hospital.

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