Maharashtra brings back COVID restrictions amid rise in cases, makes mask compulsory in public places
Amid rise in covid cases in the state, the Maharashtra government has made it compulsory for the citizens to wear masks in public places except open spaces. Additional Chief Secretary, Dr Pradeep Vyas, in a letter to all district authorities, gave out several orders including ones for mandating the wearing of masks in public places. “Mask in closed public spaces like trains, buses, cinemas, auditoriums, offices, hospitals, colleges, schools is a must,” he said.
The Maharashtra health department on Friday asked district and civic authorities to ramp up coronavirus testing as the numbers of samples being examined had fallen while cases were rising. In a letter to collectors, municipal corporations and chief executive officers, Vyas said all districts should ensure the proportion of RT-PCR tests was at least 60 per cent.
Here are the detailed guidelines issued today, apart from the mask mandate:
SARI (Severe Acute Respiratory Infections) and Fever surveillance in mandatory.
People need to get tested for Covid-19 if they show visible symptoms or respiratory problems.
Vulnerable populations need to be communicated about the risks they may face if Covid cases continue to surge.
Elderly people and those with comorbidities must be communicated repeatedly about the SMS strategy (social distancing, mask use, sanitisation).
Covid-appropriate behavior is mandatory.
The state has seen a sharp spike in cases over the last week, with June 1 reporting 1,081 cases, the highest since February 24.
“Testing in the state has considerably reduced despite repeated instructions. As per the June 1 data, there has been gross shortfall in the number of weekly tests conducted in 26 districts which is a major cause of concern. Overall testing in all districts should be increased immediately,” the letter said.
The ACS (Health) said the state had last week reported BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants, and while there were no complications associated with these cases, one must not get complacent. He also asked officials to carry out periodic analysis of new cases with respect to time, place and person so that a localised action plan can be carved out.