Mumbai: Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday said “80 per cent patients of coronavirus were asymptomatic" in his state, which at over 7,600 has the highest number of infections in the country.
The high figure increases the possibility of a silent spread of the virus and emphasises on the need for more testing as more and more people become carriers, who can potentially spread the virus further without showing any symptoms. In Rajasthan, which has over 2,100 confirmed cases, also about 80 per cent patients have been asymptomatic, according to health officials.
Thackeray said the state has succeeded in slowing down the spread of coronavirus due to the lockdown and he will review the situation before taking any decision on giving relaxations.
A large chunk of the cases in the state are currently restricted to major cities like Mumbai and Pune, according to official data, and a lockdown extension could be restricted to such urban centres, officials have told News18.
Addressing the state live through various social media platforms, the chief minister said his state will take a decision on extending the lockdown by the end of this month.
"We will take a call on what to do after the 30th," Thackeray said. For now, he said, "We are restarting some things. I am going to study it (the plan) this evening. We have to see how we return to normalcy slowly".
He asked the people to have patience, saying there is "no other choice" at the moment.
"It is not like the coronavirus is suddenly going away. There is no proof of herd immunity. We have to keep the high risk group safe," he said.
"You have to wear masks. We cannot create crowds. You should exercise at home. If you see symptoms please go to a fever clinic. Do not ignore symptoms and self-medicate," he added.
State officials have said that if the state does relax its current stringent lockdown measures, it would be in rural areas and least affected areas of the state. “However, we are looking at the scenario as rural and urban areas are connected," an official said.
State Health Minister Rajesh Tope had on Saturday said the number of COVID-19 cases in the state is not coming down.
"The state is yet to reach a stage where the number of coronavirus cases would stabilise. Till then, we cannot take the risk of allowing people to gather at public places in large numbers, Tope said.