Maha has 8 of India’s top 10 Covid-19 worst-hit districts: Centre

Hours after Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray warned of a lockdown in ‘some areas’, the Centre on Thursday made the alarming revelation that 8 out of the top 10 worst Covid-hit districts in the country are located in the state.

While Pune tops with maximum new cases, Nagpur, Thane, Mumbai, Amravati, Jalgaon, Nashik, and Aurangabad are the other districts of the state with highest Covid-19 cases in the country, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said at a NITI Aayog Covid-19 status presentation here.

Though active Covid cases touched the lowest mark in mid-February, since then, Maharashtra, along with Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Haryana, have shown an increase in their number.

However, Indian Council of Medical Research Director General, Balram Bhargava said despite Maharashtra showing a “worrisome trend”, there are no mutant strains of the SARS-COV-2 found in the cases surging in the state.

“The surge (in Maharashtra) is just related to the reduced number of testing, tracking and tracing as well as Covid-inappropriate behaviour and large gatherings,” he said.

Spelling further relief, Bhushan added that despite the rise in active cases in the country, the daily death count has remained low.

The Centre’s declaration came shortly Thackeray ominously said that “lockdown is required in some places” to curb the virus spread, and a decision would be taken in the next few days.

Interacting with the media briefly after taking the Covid-19 vaccine at the Sir J.J. Hospital this afternoon, Thackeray pointed out that cases are continuing to increase in many places in the state, including Mumbai, Nashik, Pune, Akola, and Nagpur Circles.

“People must take all precautions and follow the protocols strictly All those who are eligible for the Vaccine at this stage must get it,” he urged.

Curbs and restrictions in some or other forms are already implemented in Pune (night curfew), Nagpur (near-total lockdown), Aurangabad, Palghar, Thane, Akola, Amravati, with District Collectors authorised to take the call as the local situation warrants.

On Wednesday, Maharashtra touched 13,659 fresh cases – the highest daily tally since 13,395 cases recorded on October 8, 2020.

The state has touched a progressive total of 22,52,057 cases till date and 52,610 deaths – both highest in India – and the count increasing afresh since the past two weeks.