After a consistent dip in the number of fresh cases of COVID-19, Maharashtra has begun to witness a spike again.
On June 24, Maharashtra reported a little under 10,000 new cases, along with 197 deaths. The day before, as many as 10,066 people had tested positive. This comes after a week of logging less than 10,000 daily cases. Maharashtra had recorded 10,107 cases on June 16.
Maharashtra’s total caseload now stands at 60,07,431, with 1,21,767 active cases and 119,859 deaths. Pune has so far reported the most fatalities at 16,456, followed by Mumbai with 15,348 deaths.
Maharashtra also has the highest number of cases of the Delta Plus variant, which is said to be more infectious than its predecessors. The western state was the first to report a Delta variant case in the country in April. It now has over 20 cases of the new variant. The initial cases were traced to Ratnagiri and Jalgaon regions.
State Health Minister Rajesh Tope earlier said that all necessary details about the Delta Plus variant cases are being collected for study. The state health department is has asked for the travel histories of the patients, and is also aggressively tracing high-risk and low-risk contacts.
“We are looking closely to see if these index cases were re-infected, did they get infected even after taking the vaccine, has the Delta Plus variant escaped the vaccine?” said Tope.
Tope added no one has died in Maharashtra due to the Delta Plus variant.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has directed district administrations to be careful while easing restrictions in the state under the five-level unlock plan.
Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Jammu and Kashmir are the other states and union territory where cases of the AY.1 or Delta Plus variant have been found. One death has been reported in Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain after testing positive for the new variant. A 32-year-old nurse from Tamil Nadu who was infected with the Delta plus variant of COVID-19 has recovered now.
The Delta plus variant has also been found in nine other countries including the US, UK, Portugal, Switzerland, Japan, Poland, Russia, China.
The Central government has declared Delta plus as a "variant of concern" and has asked states where it surfaced to enforce strict restrictions, including containment.
As the fear of the third wave looms, India has also ramped up the pace of vaccination. Maharashtra has so far administered 2,97,89,600 doses. A total of 2,40,47,892 people have received at least the first dose, while 57,41,708 people are fully vaccinated.
On June 23, Maharashtra administered a record over six lakh COVID-19 vaccine doses in a single day.