As Maharashtra witnesses yet another sharp increase in the number of Coronavirus cases, the ruling political dispensation in the State has begun accusing the Opposition BJP. In its party mouthpiece ‘Saamna’, Shiv Sena claimed that the BJP pressurised the government to ease the restrictions, leading to a spike in the number of cases.
Several political leaders in the State have been diagnosed with the deadly virus. They include the health in-charge Rajesh Tope, Jayant Patil, Raksha Khadse, Eknath Khadse, Bacchu Kadu, and Rajendra Shingne. “Will the BJP take responsibility,” asked Shiv Sena in its party mouthpiece.
Instead of owning up to its administrative failure, the Shiv Sena has alleged that the Opposition wanted a full-fledged Shivaji Jayanti and opening up of restaurants and temples. And the party has now asked the BJP to take responsibility, even though it exercises no control over the administrative decisions taken by the State government.
Rising Coronavirus cases in Maharashtra
On Friday, Press Information Bureau (Maharashtra) reported that the total number of new cases in the State have reached 6,112 while active cases stood at 44,765. At the same time, Maharashtra had witnessed 20.87 lac cases since the outbreak of the pandemic and 51,173 fatalities.
#Maharashtra #COVID19 Updates for today— PIB in Maharashtra 🇮🇳 (@PIBMumbai) February 19, 2021
*⃣New Cases – 6,112
*⃣Recoveries – 2,159
*⃣Active Cases – 44,765
*⃣Total Cases till date – 20,87,632
*⃣Total Recoveries till date – 19,89,963
*⃣Total Deaths till date – 51,713@ddsahyadrinews@airnews_mumbai
Lockdown imposed in Yavatmal and Amravati
On Thursday, the Shiv Sena administration had imposed a lockdown in Yavatmal. During the period, all schools and coaching institutes will remain closed. At the same time, only 50 people would be allowed at weddings and religious functions will be barred. Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has also tightened the implementation of Coronavirus guidelines in the Mumbai district.
A similar lockdown has been imposed in Amravati on Saturday, starting from 8 pm that will remain effective until 7 am on Monday. While talking about the development, Dr Salunke attributed the rising cases of Coronavirus to the complete carelessness of people. He said that people from the same family have been testing positive. “This means they are exposed to infection during the same period. It could happen only at some public function, gathering, etc, where COVID-19 protocols have been ignored,” he added.
Why are the Coronavirus cases rising in Maharashtra – Here is what the state COVID task force and even the state health minister think
The state has seen a sharp rise in the number of Coronavirus cases and while Shiv Sena now wants to blame the BJP, devotees visiting Temples etc, the reasons as explained by the state COVID task force and even the health minister makes no mention of the reasons that Shiv Sena is peddling today.
State surveillance officer Dr Pradeep Awate suggested that one of the reasons could be the reopening of local trains, however, that would not explain the spike in areas like Vidarbha. He believes that the state-local elections held recently could be one of the reasons that the state is seeing a spike in cases. “Some areas in Vidarbha and Marathwada had reported more than 80 per cent voter turnout during the gram panchayat elections. It could have led to the spread of the disease. For instance, the Tivsa tehsil in Amravati district is now showing 32.7 per cent positivity rate. That means, every third sample is testing positive,” Awate said. He also had a similar theory for Similarly, the Sasurve village in Rahmatpur, Koregaon tehsil, of Satara district.
Speaking further, Awate said that marriage and family functions that had been put on hold earlier have also resumed and it is not uncommon to see 400-500 people at such gathering. This is the reason that restrictions on such gatherings have also been brought back. Another doctor from the taskforce had remarked that the surge in cases is due to people not keeping up their guard and assuming that the pandemic is over.
Interestingly, while the Shiv Sena blames BJP, State health minister Rajesh Tope agreed, and said people not following physical distancing norms, or avoiding face masks, would be heavily penalised.
In fact, report in Indian Express also suggests that Maharashtra has seen a drop in the number of samples being tested and contact tracing efforts.
Coronavirus outbreak in Maharashtra has been grim from the onset
Since the outbreak of the deadly Coronavirus, Maharashtra has one of the worst affected States in the country. It topped the list in the most number of active cases until recently when the spot was taken by a State with ‘model healthcare’ – Kerala.
Earlier in September last year, an undated video did the rounds on social media in which Omprakash Shete, who is the chief of the Medical Assistance Cell of the Maharashtra Chief Minister, was seen breaking down while talking to media about the Coronavirus pandemic situation in the state. In the video, Shete was seen desperately crying over the rising toll of deaths in the state due to coronavirus.
“I am not able to sleep. Common man is dying. It feels bad”, Shete said breaking down. He said that every day he receives hundreds of messages and he is tired of responding to them. “People are dying because they do not have money. I have requested the court to help them”, said Shete in a broken voice. By September last year, Maharashtra reported more than 12.60 lakh confirmed cases, thereby taking its share of active cases to more than 28%.