Mumbai reported 5,185 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours – the city’s biggest ever single-day spike, and a nearly 48 per cent increase from the preceding period – government data showed on Wednesday evening. The city also reported six deaths linked to the virus in the same period.
This is the first time that Mumbai has reported over 5,000 cases in a single day.
With the steady spike – there are now nearly 30,000 active cases – alarm bells now ringing in Mumbai.
The city has banned celebration of Holi – which falls on March 28 and 29 – in public or private spaces. Authorities will also carry out random Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) of people in public spaces.
Those found violating the no-Holi order or refusing to be tested will be charged under the Epidemic Diseases Act or Disaster Management Act.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has warned of a lockdown if people continue to disobey rules.
Maharashtra – the worst-affected state – is leading what is rapidly becoming India’s second wave of Covid cases; there are over 2.3 lakh active cases in the state and over 53,000 have died so far.
The state reported 31,855 new cases on Wednesday evening – up from 28,699 on Tuesday.
At a press briefing earlier today the Union Health Ministry flagged the Covid situation in Maharashtra and Punjab as one of “grave concern”. The ministry confirmed that a “double mutation” strain of the coronavirus had infected over 200 people in Maharashtra alone.
The ministry also said, however, that it was too soon to conclude that the “double mutant” strain, or any of the other mutant strains, was behind the spike in cases in Maharashtra or elsewhere.
“Pandemic fatigue is still the main cause behind the surge,” Dr Sujeet Kumar, Director of the NCDC (National Centre for Disease Control) said, referring to laxity that has crept in regarding safety measures like wearing of masks or social distancing.
The centre has urged states and union territories that are seeing a rapid rise in Covid cases to ensure that people follow Covid-appropriate behaviour.
They have also been asked to limit gatherings in public places – theatres, halls and offices will function at 50 per cent capacity till March 31 as well – and accelerate vaccination for priority population groups in districts reporting a higher number of new cases.