Coronavirus: Highest 24-hour surge in Maharashtra; tally touches 302

82 new cases in State; Mumbai’s total rises to 159; Buldhana district sealed off

March 31, 2020 10:49 am | Updated April 01, 2020 12:01 am IST - Pune:

People buy vegetables at a market during the nationwide lockdown, in the wake of coronavirus pandemic, in Solapur, Monday, March 30, 2020.

People buy vegetables at a market during the nationwide lockdown, in the wake of coronavirus pandemic, in Solapur, Monday, March 30, 2020.

Maharashtra reported a surge of 82 COVID-19 positive cases over a 24-hour span on Tuesday. The State’s tally has now shot to 302, with Mumbai alone registering 59 fresh cases. New cases have also been reported from Pune, Thane, Buldhana and Ahmednagar districts, and Mumbai’s suburban areas.

Steep spike

This is the State’s biggest surge in a single day since the novel coronavirus outbreak. With this steep rise, Mumbai’s tally of positive cases stands at 159; Ahmednagar district’s total figure has gone up to eight, with three new cases; and Pune district’s overall number is 48 with five fresh cases.

The tally in Thane and other municipal corporations in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, including Kalyan-Dombivli, stands at 36, said State Surveillance Officer Dr. Pradeep Awate. He said, “A total of 23,913 people have been directed to be in home quarantine, while 1,434 people are in institutional quarantine facilities.”

In Buldhana, the administration sealed off the district in Amravati division at 33 points after two new cases were reported. On March 28, a 45-year-old man died of pneumonia in the district. The next day, his test results returned positive despite the man not having any history of foreign or domestic travel.

The administration has placed 60 people in institutional quarantine facilities who may have come into contact with the deceased. It is likely that the new cases are of those who had made contact with the man.

In Ahmednagar district, authorities said the three new cases that were reported from Jamkhed tehsil were of people who had come into contact with a group of 14 foreign nationals who had entered the district a fortnight ago to visit religious places. Among this group, a French national and another person from Ivory Coast in West Africa had tested positive.

“The new patients in Jamkhed had come into contact with the foreigners who were diagnosed for the virus,” said District Collector Rahul Dwivedi.

The rise in cases in Pune is also giving headaches to authorities in terms of contact tracing as the virus has spread to the district’s rural areas after a 40-year-old autorickshaw driver from Baramati tested positive last week.

Fearing a further spike, the Pune Rural Police have cracked down on people flouting lockdown orders. Officials booked at least five ‘morning walkers’ in Narayangaon and Kamshet. Pune Divisional Commissioner Dr. Deepak Mhaisekar said the swab samples of 34 persons who had come in close contact with the 52-year-old patient who died on Monday, had been sent to the NIV for testing.

Earlier, Pune Commissioner of Police K. Venkatesham sternly warned that vehicles of owners found flouting orders would be seized. The Pune Police have so far seized nearly 200 vehicles while maintaining surveillance using drones and CCTV cameras on people daring to violate the lockdown.

Similarly, the Sangli district police, in a vigorous crackdown on Tuesday, confiscated around 300 vehicles in four hours and booked several people for flouting lockdown regulations. Sangli has recorded 25 positive cases and 24 patients are members of a family from the district’s Islampur tehsil.

On Monday, Nashik district recorded its first case from Niphad tehsil. According to State health authorities, 39 people have been discharged from isolation facilities after recovering from COVID-19.

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