Mumbai, April 24 (IANS) The Covid-19 situation remained alarming in Maharashtra with 18 new Covid-19 deaths on Friday, taking the state’s toll to 301, besides 394 new cases, health officials said here.

With the latest figures, the number of Covid-19 patients jumped from 6,427 to touch 6,817.

Twice this week, the state notched high figures of 552 new cases, zooming to a new record of 778 on Thursday, creating huge concern among the health authorities, as the state braced for holy Muslim Ramzan month of fasting from Saturday.

Of the total 18 deaths on Friday, 11 were recorded in Mumbai, taking the total from 167 to 178 and the number of Covid-19 positive patients in the city shot up from 4,205 to 4,447, with 242 new cases.

Pune, which has been sealed along with its twin city Pimpri-Chinchwad till April 27, recorded 5 fresh fatalities, besides two deaths in Malegaon (Nashik).

The dead comprised 12 men and 6 women, and nearly 67 percent of them suffered from other serious ailments such as diabetes, hypertension, heart problems and asthma.

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region (Thane Division) continued to cause worries with 198 Covid-19 deaths and 5,279 patients. Dharavi alone accounts for 220 patients and 14 dead till date.

Pune Division follows at a distant second slot with 72 fatalities and 1,020 patients.

The next worrying area is Nashik Division with 18 deaths and 197 positive cases, followed by Nagpur Division with one death and 104 patients.

On the positive side, 117 fully cured patients returned home on Friday, taking the number of those discharged to 957.

In a significant development amid sharply increasing cases and casualties, Health Minister Rajesh Tope announced that the Centre has permitted Maharashtra to conduct pool testing and plasma therapy to arrest the spread of the deadly virus.

The permission was granted after Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan conducted a video-conference meeting of all states.

This comes a day after the state declared plans to conduct 75,000 rapid tests, and use Hydroxychloroquine as a precautionary measure in some pockets like Dharavi of Mumbai.

Meanwhile, the number of people in home quarantine shot up from 114,398 to 119,161 and those in institutional quarantine increased from 8,702 to 8,814, and the state’s containment zones shot up from 477 on Thursday to 512.

As many as 7,702 surveillance squads have fanned out to survey a population of nearly 2.88 million around the state.




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