Highest-ever spike in Maharashtra: Over 31,000 new Covid cases in 24 hours

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Maharashtra on Wednesday reported 31,855 new Covid-19 cases, in the highest-ever single-day spike in the state since the beginning of the pandemic in March last year, as Mumbai for the first time recorded more than 5,000 cases in 24 hours. The spike comes at a time when the health ministry has expressed serious concerns over the present Covid-19 situation in a few districts, including Maharashtra. The state recorded 30,535 infections on March 21, 2020, which was the highest single-day spike for the state so far.

Among the districts contributing to the state’s sharpest spike ever is Nagpur, which on Wednesday reported 3,717 new cases. This is also the district’s highest single-day figure so far.

Out of the top 10 districts in the country that have the highest number of active Covid-19 cases at present, nine are in the state, including Pune, Nagpur, Mumbai, Thane, Nashik, Aurangabad, Nanded, Jalgaon and Akola, the Union health ministry said on Wednesday.

The Union health ministry has also confirmed that a new double mutant strain has been found in over 200 samples from Maharashtra. But it can not be linked to the spike, it said.

The Covid-19 situation of Maharashtra is particularly worrying as the spike started just ahead of a festive season. Though the Centre has asked all states to resort to local restrictions and lockdowns during the upcoming festivals of Holi, Navratri, crowding is still taking place. Amid the ongoing strict lockdown in Nagpur, people on Wednesday were seen taking a bus in the district.

Here’s how Maharashtra’s daily cases spiralled in March

The state has been witnessing a sharp spike in the number of daily infections since February. But the rate of increase tripled between February and March, according to data.

Between February 14 and March 23, in the span of 37 days, 4,68,748 cases were added in the state, taking the caseload to 25,33,026. On average, 12,668 cases were added daily, PTI reported.

What triggered the spike

According to the reports, prepared by the government’s expert panel, the spike can not be attributed to any single reason. Civic body elections, pandemic fatigue which translated to flouting social distancing norms, not wearing masks in public places, crowded public transport — all contributed to the spike.

Is lockdown solution?

The Centre has asked district authorities to impose local lockdown after reviewing the situation, but increasing testing and the pace of vaccination is being seen as the only way out of the worsening situation, apart from a strict adherence to Covid-19 guidelines.

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