With Covid cases breaching the 10,000-mark in the city on Tuesday, the second-highest single-day count since April 4, 2021, Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar said if the daily case count were to cross the 20,000-mark, a lockdown would be imposed in the city as per the Union government’s rules.
However, the Maharashtra Covid taskforce ruled out the possibility of a lockdown in Mumbai, saying it was too early to decide on a lockdown considering that all other aspects were under control -- hospitalisation and utilisation of oxygen was low and most patients were asymptomatic and hence, were under home isolation. However, they have warned that this situation could change in the next six to seven days if people did not follow Covid norms and have urged people to get vaccinated with immediate effect, as it reduces the severity of the virus.
“Today, no one wants a lockdown and it certainly should not be imposed, as even now, everyone is recovering from it. If the lockdown is enforced again, it will badly affect everyone. But, if the daily cases cross the 20,000-mark, a lockdown will be implemented by the civic body and the state government as per the Union government's rules,” Pednekar said. She urged people to wear triple-layer masks while travelling in public buses and local trains and appealed to them to get vaccinated at the earliest and follow all Covid-related standard operating procedures (SOPs).
“Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray might address the citizens in a couple of days,” she added.
Meanwhile, more than 18,000 covid cases were recorded across Maharashtra on Tuesday, with 18,466 new infections and 20 Covid deaths being reported in the last 24 hours, pushing the tally to 67,30,494, with 1,41,573 fatalities till now. On April 4, 2021, Mumbai had logged the highest-ever number of cases in a single day - 11,163. The total number of cases has now surged to 8,18,462, with 16,381 fatalities so far.
Of the 10860 new cases on Tuesday, 9,665 (89 per cent) patients were asymptomatic and 834 patients hospitalised, while 52 were on oxygen support.
The state also reported 75 cases of the Omicron variant of concern (VOC) on Monday. Of these, 40 are from Mumbai, nine from Thane, eight from Pune, five from Panvel, three each from Nagpur and Kolhapur, two from Pimpri Chinchwad and one each from Bhiwandi-Nizampur, Ulhasnagar, Satara, Amravati and Navi Mumbai. The total number of Omicron cases recorded in the state now stand at 653, of which 259 patients have been discharged following negative RT-PCR tests.
Dr Rahul Pandit, national and Maharashtra Covid-19 taskforce member said they would be monitoring the situation for the next two weeks and would then decide whether a lockdown or strict restrictions should be imposed in the city. Increased hospitalisation of covid patients in the coming days was being anticipated.
“We have to look at several factors, following which a decision on lockdown or strict restrictions will be taken. The government will make a decision about restrictions by taking into consideration the case positivity rate, hospital bed occupancy, and oxygen consumption,” he said.
Dr Shashank Joshi, member of the Maharashtra Covid-19 taskforce said there might be many cases already. “As of now, people have to ensure two things, double-masking and double vaccination. They have to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour and focus on proper ventilation. As far as inbound travel is concerned, tight screening and tracing of all incoming foreign arrivals is to be carried out, because Omicron is everywhere. They have to ensure home quarantine and if anyone is asymptomatic, they should go for testing voluntarily,” he said.
“Currently, all Omicron cases in the country are sporadic and they are travel-related. Domestic transmission is rare and there are no clusters and no community transmission right now. Even the Delta variant which caused the second wave has almost gone extinct now, so from the Delta standpoint also, the infection has come down,” he added.
“Currently, we do not have restrictions and we have screening mechanisms at places from where potentially Omicron could emerge. We are upping the guard in terms of Covid-appropriate behaviour, public health strategies, masking and vaccination policies. There is no question of any restrictions other than what are currently in place and the lockdown will not occur at all. The restrictions would be guided by the positivity rate, so currently there is no need for any restrictions except zero tolerance for people who do not follow Covid-appropriate behaviour,” explained Dr Joshi.
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