Covid not near plateau in Maharashtra, cases can hike around Diwali: Expert

Topics Maharashtra | Diwali | Coronavirus

Even as the daily spike in

coronavirus cases in Maharashtra has come down to 15,000 or less in the last few days, a medical expert warned on Friday that the numbers could surge again during Diwali.

As the increase in cases has declined, the number of tests conducted each day too has gone down, an official pointed out.

As of Thursday evening, the caseload in Maharashtra was 14,93,884 and the death toll 39,430. While the spike in cases on Thursday was 13,395, it had crossed 24,000 earlier.

Dr Subhash Salunkhe, member of the state's technical committee on COVID-19, said, "Many health officials including me are of the opinion that we should not expect any relief till the Diwali festival is over. Because people tend to go out more during this period, increasing the chances of exposure as well as spreading infection.

"The slight decline in daily cases in the last few days should not be interpreted as the beginning of a plateau or a peak period getting over. Forget about a second wave, the first wave would not be over till Diwali," he told PTI.

"We need at least 15 straight days of decline in COVID-19 cases to talk about a plateau (a stage before the number of new infections begins to fall)."

However, asked about his view on more and more establishments reopening, he said, "We can not ask people to stay at home any longer. Several jobs are at stake and economy needs to move as well.

"If we increase tests, it will help check the spread of the infection," Dr Salunkhe added.

"There are some technical challenges which have brought down the daily testing figures. We were conducting around 80,000 to 90,000 tests in September but now it is around 70,000," said a senior health department official.

Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Devendra Fadnavis said the state government had failed to ramp up testing.

"The infection in Mumbai has jumped from 13.63 per cent in August to 17.5 per cent in September. The average daily testing in Mumbai was merely 11,796 in September," he said.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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