Mumbai in night lockdown.

Mumbai in night lockdown.

Maha opts for lockdown style curfew from April 14-30 as Covid cases gallop

Corona resurgence: Labs testing Covid-19 samples in Delhi overburdened

Agency Report | Mumbai/New Delhi | 13 April, 2021 | 11:00 PM

Maharashtra has reported 51,751 fresh coronavirus cases, a day after logging the highest single-day spike with 63,294 infections. The state also reported 258 deaths. The state's cumulative case tally now stands at 34,58,996 and the death count at 58,245. Maharashtra now has 5,64,746 active cases. Mumbai has seen 6,893 new cases and 43 fatalities, taking the tally to 5,27,391 and the death count to 12,066. On anticipated lines, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has announced 'lockdown' style restrictions starting 8 pm on April 14, till April 30, to break the chain of the coronavirus which has gripped the state.

However, Mumbai suburban trains and city buses will continue to run, but commutes will be permitted for those in the designated ‘essential services’, he said.

“From tomorrow 8 pm, Section 144 will be imposed across Maharashtra.. From 7 am-8 pm only essential services shall remain open. This is imperative to break the chain of the virus. Saving lives is our topmost priority,” Thackeray said in an address to the state late this evening.

Even as Thackeray spoke, the state’s daily Covid tally touched a whopping 60,212 new infections, taking the tally above the 35 lakh mark to 35,19,208, besides 281 deaths taking the toll to 58,526 – the highest in the country.

Referring to the shortages experienced by the state, Thackeray said he would request Prime Minister Narendra Modi to direct the Indian Air Force to transport oxygen from other states as road transportation could lead to delays.

Presently, the state produces around 1,200 tonnes of oxygen of which nearly 950-1000 tonnes is utilised daily, but as the cases continue to spike, the demand has increased, besides the need for more Remdevisir medicine and other Covid-treatment related requirements.

Vaccination – in which the state tops the nation – would have to be further scaled up and he requested all parties not to politicise these issues in the public interest.

Under the new regime, all non-essential services and travel shall be prohibited totally with the clamping of prohibitory orders, all film shootings banned, all places of worship will remain shut, marriages will be allowed with only 25 guests and funerals with the earlier norm of 20 mourners.

All restaurants, bars, streetfood sellers, except those in-house on premises of hotels and other designated locations, will remain closed, though home delivery shall be permitted.

Food markets and retail outlets shall be allowed with staggered working hours, while clubs, gyms, amusement/water parks, swimming pools, beaches, gardens, and other public places, salons, barbershops, etc shall be closed for public.

Autorickshaws and taxis can ply with driver plus only two passengers, private vehicles shall be allowed for only emergency/essential purposes, while all manufacturing, trade, banking, commercial, ecommerce, marketing and related activities shall continue, all state/Central government and essential private offices including law firms, shall work but with only 50 per cent capacity.

In all categories, the government has mandated adherence to strict Covid Appropriate Behaviour and violators would be slapped with hefty fines/penalties and termination of their services till the end of the Centre’s pandemic orders.

With an exponential resurgence in Coronavirus cases over the last few weeks, many private laboratories taking Covid-19 samples are overburdened and have stopped collecting new samples.

Many private labs said they have stopped receiving Covid-19 samples until the existing samples have been cleared.

A total of 1,02,460 new Covid-19 sample were tested in the last 24 hours in Delhi while the cumulative samples so far tested are 15,753,100, according to a Delhi Government health bulletin.

An official spokesperson of Max hospital, Patparganj, said till a few days ago, around 150-200 samples used to be tested but as of now around 300-350 samples are being tested every day.

“The number of sample tests has increased in the past few days but we have not stopped the process. Our lab staff is working day and night so that test results can be given,” said the spokesperson.

Dr Lal PathLab, one of the largest laboratories, with several branches across Delhi-NCR has in fact stopped collecting new Covid-19 test samples. A person associated with one of its branches in Masoodpur in South Delhi said on condition of anonymity that new samples are not being collected. “We have stopped new sample testing since March 8 due to a glut of samples,” he said.

If one dials the Lal Pathlabs helpline number and proceeds for further enquiry, the helpline number disconnects and a voice says: A message has been sent to your mobile number.”

After getting no response despite several calls, asked as to why the helpline isn’t functioning, an employee associated with Dr Lalpath Lab at Nirman Vihar in East Delhi, requesting not to named, said: “We are not testing new samples and this is the reason the helpline number isn’t working.”

Not just private laboratories, but government-run hospitals which have their own labs for Covid sample testing too are feeling the burden.

Dr BL Sherwal, director, Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital, said that RT-PCR testing takes around 5 to 6 hours to test the sample. “Our staff is working extremely hard, but still they are overloaded because the number of samples keeps increasing day by day. Earlier, we were testing around 200-250 tests every day and for the last few days we are testing around 400-450 samples every day,” added Dr Sherwal. (IANS)