Maharashtra’s sugar heartland witnessed a sharp spike in the number of COVID-19 cases after 12 more members of a family in Sangli district tested positive for the virus, authorities said on Friday.
Already, 11 members of this family from Sangli’s Islampur tehsil had tested positive, with the first four patients, who had a history of travel to Saudi Arabia, testing positive on March 23. Since then, 19 others — 18 from the same family and a woman from Peth Vadgaon in Kolhapur district who was in touch with this family — have been infected with the virus.
State Water Resources Minister Jayant Patil, who is the MLA from Islampur, said the area where the family lives has been cordoned off and additional measures are being taken to check the spread of infection.
“This [sharp rise in number of cases] is indeed a worrying development. All members of this family are being kept in isolation facilities in Miraj. To prevent the virus from spreading, we have decided that only one person from the family who has not been infected will step out to buy essential items,” Mr. Patil said.
At the same time, he said there was no immediate cause for concern as all patients in the family are stable. “Some members of this family are aged between 62 and 65. However, I have spoken with them and they are fine and are experiencing no respiratory problems,” he said.
With this, Sangli has now recorded 23 cases, while the number of cases in Pune division, including Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Satara and Sangli, stands at 58 — a surge of 16 in the past 24 hours.
The Sangli district authorities have taken action against nearly 1,700 people since the Janata Curfew on March 22 for violating lockdown orders.
With one positive case, the Kolhapur district administration, too, has tightened screws to prohibit assembly. The police have confiscated more than 350 private vehicles and will return them to owners only after April 15, said police inspector Vasant Babar, in-charge of Kolhapur city’s traffic department.
Meanwhile, in a positive development, the first three patients in Pimpri-Chinchwad to have tested positive have been discharged from YCM Hospital after their repeat samples tested negative, Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Commissioner Shravan Hardikar said.
All three were given a rousing farewell by hospital staff, whom they thanked profusely for their care.