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Amid surge in novel coronavirus in Maharashtra, state health minister Rajesh Tope said Monday that Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is "very worried" about the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases and urged people to follow Covid-appropriate guidelines to avoid imposing lockdown in the state.

"Chief Minister is very worried about the situation in the State. He has requested people to behave responsibly to avoid COVID, otherwise, the government will have to resort to imposing a lockdown. People must adhere to the guidelines," said Tope, according to news agency ANI.

He also informed that the numbers are increasing hence there will be a discussion with all officials.

"With the increase in the number of COVID19 cases, we will have to be more prepared. We will have to activate our Jumbo Covid centres which were active earlier," said Tope.

He also said that the Centre has told the states that the gap between two shots of Covishield vaccine will be 45 to 60 days instead of the present 28 days. The gap between doses of Covaxin will be same as earlier, that is 28 days.

Tope also added that Uddhav has discussed the latest surge in cases with epidemiologists.

"According to their estimate, the graph of COVID-19 cases will remain the same for the next two to three days and after that, it will decline. I think this is a peak and I hope it will go down," said Tope.

He also said that the state was not hiding any cases, and each case is registered with the ICMR.

"The question is if this is being followed in other states or not," he said.

While the Centre wants at least 70 per cent of tests to be RTPCR, in Maharashtra, the proporftion is 73 per cent, Tope said.

"We have over 550 RTPCR labs in the state. So we have told all the civil surgeons that the RT-PCR should be used at its full capacity," he said.

Big rallies are being held in some of the poll-bound states where no social distancing is followed, and in Gujarat, cricket matches were held with thousands in attendance, the minister pointed out.

Tope also denied that vaccines were going to waste.

"It was told (by the centre) that 58 lakh doses were given to the state and now the vaccine doses are still lying unused. There is no such situation," he said.

"Earlier we had a rule that only hospitals with 100+ beds can be given permission for vaccination but now vaccination can happen at hospitals with even 20+ beds," he added.

He also informed the reporters that amid the surge in cases, 85% cases are asymptomatic even as active virus cases in the state has reached 2.10 lakh.

"Cases are rising in metro cities like Pune, Mumbai. Around 3 lakh testing per million are being conducted in Pune," said the state health minister.

On the vaccination front, the minster informed that so far, the state government has vaccinated 45 lakh, people, while adding that every day 3 lakh people are being vaccinated.

"We have requested for 20 lakh vaccines per day. We were informed that we'll receive 9 lakh Covishield vaccines tomorrow. We aim to vaccinate vulnerable groups within 3 months. The pace needed to complete the target will require the requested amount of vaccines," he said.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra on Sunday reported 30,535 fresh COVID-19 cases, the highest rise in a single day, the state health department said.

With this, the state's overall tally of the infections mounted to 24,79,682 while 99 fatalities pushed the toll to 53,399, it said.

The fresh spike in the cases came just three days after Maharashtra recorded its highest rise in a single day at 25,833. The previous highest spike was 24,896 in September 2020.

Maharashtra, along with Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh are reporting a surge in the COVID-19 daily cases and account for 80.5 per cent of the total new cases registered, the Union Health Ministry said on Monday.

India saw 46,951 new cases being registered in a day, the highest single day rise so far this year.


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