‘No need to panic’: Health experts in Maharashtra amid rise in Covid cases in China

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With Covid-19 cases rising in China and the Centre sounding an alert, asking states to track positive samples and ramp up genome sequencing of all new cases on a daily basis, health officials in Maharashtra said there was no need to panic as no sudden spike has been observed in the state. However, officials cautioned, people should continue wearing masks and remain vigilant if they have any recent travel history.

“To monitor the Covid situation in the state, the government will form a committee/task force in coordination with the Centre,” Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis told media personnel after the Centre issued an alert on Tuesday.

Currently, the state is conducting genome sequencing of 100 samples in rounds in Pune and Mumbai.

“Learning lessons from our past experience, we should be more vigilant and boost up testing. The symptomatic passengers should be tested, also, the pathogens should be studied thoroughly to understand how infectious it is,” said Dr Subhas Salunke, member of the national Covid task force and Maharashtra state advisor.

When asked if India can witness another outbreak, he said, “The infection spread is not only limited to China but in other countries also. So, there is a possibility that it could also penetrate into India also.”

State health officials said no sudden spike has been observed in Maharashtra. For the last week, Mumbai’s daily Covid caseload has been between 3-7 cases. “We are keeping a close look into the cases. But people should wear masks while stepping out or going to crowded places like airports. If anyone has missed their booster shots, they should get it immediately,” said Dr Pradeep Awate, state surveillance officer.

According to numbers compiled by Our World in Data, a scientific online publication, the cumulative case numbers in China from the beginning of the pandemic are 1.9 million. Cases spiked sharply in late November, and in one 24-hour period crossed 40,000 new infections for the first time, beating a record achieved in April 2022.



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