New Delhi: Maharashtra on Friday (June 25) reported first death due to mutated Delta Plus variant of COVID-19 in the Ratnagiri district. The death has put the local authorities on their toes once again forcing them to closely monitor such cases in the state. According to reports, an 80-year-old man died due to the Delta Plus variant in Ratnagiri's Sangameshvar area, becoming the first such casualty in the state.
Officials confirmed that the deceased was suffering from other age-related ailments as well. As per the health department, as many as 21 cases of Delta Plus variant have been identified in Maharashtra so far. With one death, 20 such cases are now left in the state and they are being closely monitored by authorities.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has set a target of producing 3,000 tonnes per day liquid medical oxygen amid the threat of a third wave of coronavirus looming on the horizon. Currently, the state's LMO production is barely 1,300 tonnes daily and he called upon the oxygen manufacturers to hike their oxygen production and storage facilities on a priority basis.
On Friday, Maharashtra reported 9,677 new COVID-19 cases, 156 deaths and 10,138 recoveries. The recovery rate of the state stands at 95.94 per cent while the case fatality rate is at 2 per cent. As many as 50 cases of Delta Plus variant of COVID-19 have been recorded across 11 states in India, government sources said on Friday.
Meanwhile, the Maha Vikas Aghadi government on Friday clamped Level-3 norms across entire Maharashtra and hinted at "wider and stricter restrictions". FDA Minister Dr Rajendra Shingne warned that the potential third wave could see a staggering 50 lakh infections, of which around 8 lakh would be active cases needing hospitalisation. He apprehended that up to 10 per cent of the infectees (5 lakh) could be children and urged people to exercise all COVID-19 protocols, even as the state crossed the landmark 3 crore vaccination mark, the highest in India.
Under the revised Level-3 norms, all shops would shut by 4 p.m., malls, and cinemas would remain shut and there will be strong curbs on unnecessary movement of people. Of these, Ratnagiri has the highest (9), followed by Jalgaon (7), Mumbai (2) and one each in Thane, Palghar, and Sindhudurg districts and the rest of the state is on a high alert.
Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte issued a fresh notification, saying that the new Covid-19 variants like Delta and Delta Plus have come to spread and are fuelling the potentiality of imminent (4-6 weeks), more severe third wave with a wider geographical area.
The government has directed all the District Disaster Management Authorities (DDMAs) to ensure that large number of people turn up for vaccinations in the state - which crossed the 60 lakh case tally (60,07,431) on Thursday, besides recording the highest death toll now at 119,859.
"Push vaccination through public awareness activities, attempt must be to achieve vaccination of 70 per cent eligible population at the earliest, encourage workplace vaccinations especially of blue-collar workers," says the new set of guidelines announced by the state.