Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan wrote a letter to the Maharashtra government and said that the state is in the beginning of a second wave of COVID-19 pandemic. The Centre has asked the Uddhav Thackeray-led government to focus on containment strategies and scale up its vaccination campaign. The central government team assessed the situation in the state and wrote to Maharashtra Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte, urging the state government to undertake steps to bring down the number of cases and increase contact-tracing.
"Maharashtra is in the beginning of a second wave of Covid-19 pandemic. There is very limited active effort to track, test, isolate cases and quarantine contacts. There is no adherence to Covid appropriate behaviour among people both in rural and urban areas," said Rajesh Bhushan in the letter.
He said that eight of the top 10 districts of India in terms of active COVID-19 cases are in Maharashtra. Bhushan said that the only way to curb the spread is to increase the pace of vaccination.
In the letter to Kunte, Bhushan said that the pandemic in the recent past showed a rising trend in Maharashtra,where active cases increased by 171.5 per cent in the last one month from 36,917 cases on February 11 to 1,00,240 cases on March 11. He also flagged the high mortality rates.
In hospitals like Government Medical College in Aurangabad and in Vasant Rao Pawar Medical College, Nashik the fatality rate in current cases were found to be high, said Bhushan. He said that this needed a detailed investigation and sending samples for Whole Genome Sequencing.
The letter stated that due to limited contact tracing, a large pool of asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic people are not being tracked and tested. Bhushan advised for testing to be considerably enhanced according to protocols laid down by Indian Council of Medical Research.
The number of people testing positive was high and ranged from 5.1 per cent in Mumbai to 30 per cent in Aurangabad, stated the letter. "The Central team inferred that the administrative mechanism should be re-instated to the level witnessed in August-September 2020 to contain/suppress the Covid transmission," said Bhushan in the letter.
"The central team found that the District Administration is not much worried about the evolving situation. We could sense a feeling that enough has been done already. This complacency may take its toll," Bhushan said.
The Health Secretary said that Maharashtra will get another 12.74 lakh of vaccine doses by March 18.