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After Decline in Covid-19 Cases, Maharashtra Keeps Fingers Crossed as Restaurants Reopen Today

People at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station in Mumbai. (File photo/Reuters)

People at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station in Mumbai. (File photo/Reuters)

The Maharashtra government had on Saturday issued Covid-19 safety guidelines for restaurants and other eateries which were allowed to reopen from October 5.

For eight days in a row, Maharashtra’s Covid-19 daily cases have been under 20,000 with the state recording 13,702 new infections on Sunday, pushing the tally to 1,443,409. But in spite of the decline in the cases after an uptick in the initial weeks of September, health officials in the state continue to be cautious about the possibility of a surge in infections in the coming weeks.

A health official told Hindustan Times that after the inter-district movement was permitted from September 2, a sudden increase in the initial weeks was seen. “A similar spike is projected over the next couple of weeks after restaurants resume operations from today and running of more local trains [for essential services workers]. However, it would not be as high as last month,” the official was quoted as saying by the publication.

Notably, the Maharashtra government had on Saturday issued Covid-19 safety guidelines for restaurants and other eateries which were allowed to reopen from October 5. Hotels, food courts and restaurants can operate from Monday at 50 per cent of their seating capacity.

As per the guidelines, customers should be screened at the entry point for coronavirus symptoms such as high temperature, cough, and cold. Only asymptomatic customers will be allowed inside. Also, putting on face masks will be mandatory, except while eating, the guidelines said. Customers must follow social distancing while waiting for service. Dabbawallahs (tiffin carriers) in MMR will also be allowed to travel by local trains after procuring QR code passes from the Mumbai Police Commissioner’s office.

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Meanwhile, on Sunday, Maharashtra reported 13,702 fresh COVID-19 cases on Sunday, which pushed the state’s infection tally to 14,43,409, the health department said. The death toll in the state rose to 38,084 with 326 more deaths, it said.

A total of 15,048 patients were discharged during the day, taking the total number of recoveries in the state to 11,49,603, the health department said in a statement. The state’s recovery rate is 79.64 per cent, while the fatality rate is 2.64 per cent, according to the statement. A total of 22,09,696 people are in home quarantine and 27,939 in institutional quarantine.

State surveillance officer Dr Pradeep Awate told the publication that they were continuously focused on these districts with high infections over the past few weeks by monitoring along with district-level officials. “We expect the ‘My Family, My Responsibility drive’, which emphasises on behavioural communication, to help us further in early detection and early treatment, resulting in keeping mortality in check. We have also increased the daily testing to 90,000 a day, from 61,000 a few weeks ago," he said.

At 2, 343 new cases, Pune district logged the most number of infections, including 1,033 in city, 814 in rural parts and 496 in Pimpri-Chinchwad. The district also witnessed 41 fatalities, out of which 25 were in the city. Nashik district recorded 1,034 cases and eight deaths while saw Nagpur 917 infections and 26 deaths. Ahmednagar recorded 639 cases and 7 deaths and Sangli saw 472 cases and 14 fatalities. Nine cities in MMR and rural parts of Thane and Raigad, with 4,332 infections, recorded an increase in its contribution to the state’s caseload at 38.92%, which has risen from 23-25% till last week, the HT report added.

first published:October 05, 2020, 09:14 IST