Covid cases rising, Maharashtra to impose weekend lockdown in Amravati

Owing to a rise in novel coronavirus cases, a weekend lockdown will be imposed in Maharashtra’s Amravati district starting 8 pm on February 20. It will be in effect till 7 am on February 22.

“The markets will be shut from Saturday night till Monday morning. For now, this is being implemented for one day,” said Dr Dilip Ranmale, a district health officer in Amravati.

Until a month ago, Amravati city was recording less than 70 cases a day. In a month, the spike in cases in the entire district is fastest across the state, worrying officials of an unusual transmission pattern.

With 430 new Covid-19 cases on Sunday, Amravati corporation joined Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur in its highest single day case record this year.

Meanwhile, genome sequencing of random Covid-19-infected samples has found E484K mutation in one sample in Amravati and N440K mutation in another sample in Yavatmal.

Also Read |Mutation found in samples in Amravati and Yavatmal; Covid spike in 21 districts

Doctors say the presence of E484K could explain why entire families are testing positive in Amravati that has recorded 2,843 new Covid-19 cases in the last one week and a positivity rate of 56.7 per cent, the highest in Maharashtra.

Civil surgeon Dr Shyamsunder Nikam said hospitalisations have soared in the district amidst an unusual surge although most cases are mild infections.

10-day lockdown in Yavatmal district

Meanwhile, a 10-day lockdown has been imposed in eastern Maharashtra’s Yavatmal district starting Thursday night owing to a rise in Coronavirus cases, a PTI report said.

Yavatmal Collector M D Singh said the number of coronavirus cases in the district was increasing since February 1, and the district has 606 active cases as of Wednesday.

He added that almost 80 to 90 per cent of new cases were being reported from Yavatmal, Pandharkawda and Pusad cities.

“We have decided to conduct around 500 tests per day in Yavatmal, Pandharkawda and Pusad municipal corporations. Today we are ordering lockdown in Yavatmal district till February 28,” Singh was quoted as saying by PTI.

During this period, he said, schools, colleges and coaches classes will remain closed. Also, no religious gatherings would be allowed, while only 50 persons will be allowed at weddings.

The decision on lockdown in the two districts comes hours after Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and his deputy Ajit Pawar discussed the issue today morning.

On Tuesday, Uddhav Thackeray had warned of a possible lockdown if people did not prevent overcrowding and directed the district authorities to make all Covid norms stringent, including limited gathering during marriages, fines for face mask violations etc. In the past few days, places like Amravati, Yavatmal, Akola in Maharashtra have witnessed an increased number of coronavirus cases.

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