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BMC seals Maharashtra governor’s office, staff quarters after 16 Raj Bhavan staff test positive for Covid-19



At least 16 staff of Maharashtra’s Raj Bhavan, the official residence of the Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari in Mumbai, have tested positive for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), officials of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said on Sunday.

Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari is already in isolation and will undergo the test for Covid-19, if required, in the coming days, the civic body’s officials said.

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“Sixteen staff members at Raj Bhavan have tested positive until now. Of the 16, two had tested positive around eight days ago,” a BMC official said.

“After this, tests of around 100 staff members was undertaken by the governor’s office on Saturday at the state-run JJ Hospital. Of the 100, around 14 have been tested positive,” the official added.

The staff members, who tested positive for the coronavirus disease, are stable and asymptomatic, they added.

The civic body has sealed the staff quarters and the governor’s office and carried out sanitisation of the premises.

“The governor’s residence as such cannot be sealed but we have sealed the staff quarters and the office of the governor will be shut for eight days as staff members are in quarantine,” the official added.

Late on Saturday night, Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan and his son, Abhishek Bachchan, tested positive for Covid-19 and were admitted to the Nanavati Hospital. They have mild symptoms and are stable, said hospital authorities on Sunday.

Maharashtra’s death toll due to Covid-19 had breached the 10,000 mark on Saturday with 223 deaths reported in the past 24 hours, as the state’s case tally also registered its highest single-day spike of 8,139 infections — first in excess of 8,000.

The toll stands at 10,116 and the tally at 246,600, according to data released by the state health department, which also stated that active cases rose close to 1 lakh at 99,202. The state reported its first Covid-19 death on March 17, which means it took 117 days to cross the grim 10,000-mark.

Saturday was also the second consecutive day that the state reported its sharpest single-day spike after it recorded 7,862 cases on Friday.

Meanwhile, Mumbai maintained a sort of stability in the number of fresh cases. On Saturday, it reported 1,284 new Covid-19 cases, taking the tally to 91,745. There are 22,782 active cases in the city. Mumbai’s death toll stands at 5,244 after 39 more fatalities on Saturday.

The number of recovered patients in the state also increased to 136,985 after 4,360 patients recovered in the past 24 hours, data showed on Saturday. The recovery rate has improved to 55.55%.

As the cases are going up across the state, the situation in Mumbai appears to be slightly under control as compared to last month. Mumbai’s contribution to the state tally has reduced to 37.20% with 91,745 cases from 58.09% with 43,492 cases on June 3.

In contrast, the number of daily cases in other eight cities of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) are rising at a rapid speed. Their contribution has increased to 25.56% (63,039 cases) from 15.49% (11,594 cases) on June 3.

The cities are Thane, Navi Mumbai, Kalyan-Dombivli, Mira-Bhayander, Ulhasnagar, Panvel, Vasai-Virar and Bhiwandi-Nizampur.

On Saturday, Kalyan-Dombivli recorded 640 fresh infections, Thane 455, Navi Mumbai 256, Ulhasnagar 304, Mira-Bhayander 260, Vasai-Virar 305, Panvel 169 and Bhiwandi-Nizampur recorded 63.

Amid the rise in the number of Covid-19 cases in MMR, chief minister Uddhav Thackeray held a meeting with commissioners of civic bodies in the region on July 9 and termed the situation a “concern”.

This was Thackeray’s second interaction with the civic chiefs in under two weeks.

Thackeray, who expressed dissatisfaction over the health infrastructure in many cities in MMR, has directed them to follow the example of Mumbai and ramp up health facilities for Covid-19 cases.

The chief minister during the video conference also asked officials to set up field hospitals to treat patients of the coronavirus disease.

The areas that are not in the red zone—apart from the state’s 19 cities—are also experiencing a surge in Covid-19 cases.

Their contribution to the state’s caseload rose to almost double in more than a month. It has now gone up to 17.56% from 9.32% on June 3, indicating a rise even in rural areas of the state.

Dr Archana Patil, director at the directorate of health services, said they are working only on enhancing healthcare facilities and cannot say that the peak has started.

“Currently, we are monitoring the growth rate of fresh infections and based on that, making projections for the coming weeks. I cannot say that the peak has started. Our priority is to augment healthcare facilities because more cases need more medical facilities. We will have to match the health infrastructure with the rise in fresh cases in each and every district of the state,” Dr Patil said.

Stricter lockdown restrictions have been imposed in several cities and districts by the local administration amid the rise in the numbers of infections.

Solapur municipal corporation declared on Saturday that a lockdown will be imposed between July 16 and July 26 to break the chain of infections. Solapur municipal commissioner Milind Shambharkar made the announcement after 77 fresh cases were reported in the city. The case count went up to 3,085.

Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad civic bodies had on Friday decided to impose a 10-day lockdown from July 13, while Mumbai’s neighbouring Thane and Kalyan-Dombivli civic bodies have also extended their ongoing lockdown for seven more days till July 19.

Along with a spike in cases, the state is also reporting a large number of deaths every day. In the past 11 days, it has recorded 2,110 Covid-19 casualties. With 9,893 deaths, the case fatality rate (CFR) of the state was recorded at 4.15% on Friday.

It is second highest in the country after Gujarat, where the CFR is 5.05% with 2,022 deaths and 40,069 cases recorded till Friday, according to data shared by the state’s medical education department.


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