In its highest single-day jump in more than three months, Maharashtra reported a massive surge of 8,807 COVID-19 cases on Wednesday as the State’s active case tally jumped to 59,358.
Just 2,772 recoveries were reported as curbs, fresh restrictions and mini-lockdowns were imposed in several parts of the State to rein in the sudden recrudescence of the contagion.
Pune and Nagpur district, along with Mumbai city, reported more than 1,000 cases each.
A fatality spike of 80 deaths — of whom only 27 occurred in the last 48 hours and 31 were from an earlier period — saw the toll climb to 51,937.
The case tally has risen to 21,21,119 while the cumulative recoveries stand at 20,08,623.
“Of the 1,59,41,773 laboratory samples tested thus far, 21,21,119 [with the case positivity rate down to 13.31%] have returned positive with over 81,000 samples being tested in the last 24 hours,” said State Surveillance Officer Dr. Pradeep Awate, adding that the case fatality had incrementally dipped to 2.45%.
Cases soared in Pune district, which reported a whopping 1,500 — a new high in the last five months — to take its tally to 4,03,782. The Health Department said just four deaths were reported as the toll reached 8,044. However, as per district authorities, the toll has crossed 9,200 while the active case tally has now surged past the 7,600-mark.
Mumbai city, too, reported a massive surge of 1,167 cases, taking its tally to 3,21,699 of whom 6,900 are active. Four fatalities took the toll to 11,458.
In the wake of the developing crisis, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Commissioner Iqbal Chahal has directed jumbo COVID-19 centres to be re-started while city’s Guardian Minister Aslam Shaikh has warned of a lockdown unless people strictly adhered to regulations.
“While we do not want a lockdown that can inconvenience people, what other option do we have if citizens continue to flout norms?” said Mr. Shaikh.
Nagpur district in Vidarbha reported 1,048 cases, taking the tally to 1,47,321 of whom 7,851 are active. 17 deaths were recorded as the toll rose to 3,494.
Closure of all restaurants
Considering the alarming spike, the Nagpur civic body decreed the closure of all restaurants, hotels and eateries on weekends until further orders.
However, their kitchens continue to function for online food delivery, said officials. All swimming pools and libraries are to remain closed till March 7 as well.
Amravati district in Vidarbha, too, saw a big spike of nearly 800 cases, taking its tally to 32,866 of which 6,178 are active. Two deaths took the toll to 445.
Yavatmal reported 179 cases taking its total to 17,566 of whom 1,101 are active. Five deaths were reported from the district as the toll climbed to 4,781.
Buldhana reported 168 cases and a death. Its case tally stands at 17,076 of whom 1,699 are active, while the toll has reached 258.
With Vidarbha emerging as the ‘epicentre’ in this wave, authorities in Parbhani district have cancelled inter-district buses to Nagpur, Amravati and Yavatmal districts.
Educational institutions and weekly markets in Jalna district, too, have been ordered to remain shut till March 31. Likewise, night curfews have been imposed in Satara and Solapur districts in western Maharashtra.
After months of low surges, Satara saw a big spike of 200 cases as the tally rose to 58,246 of whom 993 are active. A single death has taken the toll to 1,839.
Neighbouring Sangli reported 25 cases and zero deaths as the district reported cases reached 51,252 of whom only 496 are active. Its toll stands at 1,791.
Kolhapur reported a higher than usual surge of more than 60 cases and a single death as its tally reached 49,557 of whom just 226 are active. The toll stood at 1,675.
Dr. Awate said 2,95,578 persons were in home quarantine and 2,446 were in institutional quarantine facilities.