At 31, Maharashtra coronavirus cases jump to highest in country, four more test positive in Mumbai

March 15, 2020

MUMBAI: Maharashtra overtook Kerala as the state with the maximum number of the novel coronavirus cases on Saturday, its count leapfrogging from 19 to 31 in a day. Kerala is at 22.

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Also, a 71-year-old man who returned from Saudi Arabia and was showing symptoms of coronavirus infection died in Buldhana. Health minister Rajesh Tope said his was a suspected case since he had not yet tested positive.

Of the 12 fresh cases that emerged in the state on Saturday, five were in Pimpri-Chinchwad, two in Yavatmal and one each in Mumbai, Vashi, Kamothe, Kalyan and Nagpur.

The numbers rose even as the state government decided to shut all air-conditioned malls, schools, colleges, technical institutions and coaching classes across the state till March 31.

Mumbai on Saturday reported its fifth case, with the son of the 64-year-old man with a travel history to Dubai and brief treatment at PD Hinduja Hospital testing positive. On Friday, the senior citizen’s 63-year-old wife, too, had tested positive. Besides the son, three more individuals from Vashi, Kamothe and Kalyan tested positive. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region now has nine cases.

Of the five new cases in Pimpri-Chinchwad—two of them 12-year-olds—four were

of those who had come into contact with the group of 40 which had travelled to Dubai and whose members had tested positive earlier, while one person had come back from Thailand.

The man found positive in Vashi, 59 years old, is a Philippines national, while the Kamothe resident (40) had travelled to Dubai with the group of 40, and the Kalyan patient, a 37-year-old, had travelled to France and the US.

Civic officials said all of them were undergoing symptomatic treatment at Kasturba Hospital.

Across Maharashtra, there are now in all 15 cases in Pune/Pimpri-Chinchwad, 5 in Mumbai, 4 in Nagpur, 2 in Yavatmal and on each in Panvel (Kamothe), Navi Mumbai, Kalyan, Ahmednagar and Thane.

“We have already announced schools and colleges in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad would remain shut till the end of the month, and now a decision has been taken that all schools, colleges, technical institutes and even Aaganwadis in urban areas of the state will remain shut till March 31,” Tope said. Tope said malls across the state, barring grocery stores inside the malls, would be shut. Regular grocery stores will remain open.

The minister added all the Class 10 and 12 and university exams will go on as per schedule. The state has invoked the Epidemic Act, 1897 under which it is implementing these closures and under the Act, there is also a provision to penalise people who do not obey orders.

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