Health secretary Rajesh Bhushan has written to the state chief secretary cautioning the administration on inadequate contact tracing efforts while urging that it must focus on strict and effective containment strategies.
The central teams that visited the state have reported an over-reliance on rapid antigen tests and slack containment efforts.
“There is very limited active effort to track, test, isolate cases and quarantine contacts. There is no adherence to Covid-19 appropriate behaviour among people, both in rural and urban areas,” Bhushan said.
“As on March 12, only 23.9 lakh vaccinations have been administered as part of Covid-19 vaccination drive, thereby leaving adequate stocks available with the state for increasing the pace of vaccination in districts showing an active case surge,” he wrote. Maharashtra accounts for only 7% of fully vaccinated people, even as it reported 56% of active cases in the country. Among the top 10 districts with highest caseload in the country, eight are in Maharashtra.
Cautioning against the start of a “second wave” of the pandemic in Maharashtra, the Centre said measures like weekend lockdowns and night curfews had a “very limited impact on containing or suppressing the transmission”.
He also flagged high death rates in Nashik and Aurangabad and asked for genome analysis of the samples to investigate the causes. The letter dwelt primarily on a report submitted by a central team, which found that the positivity report ranged from 5% in Mumbai to an alarming 30% in Aurangabad. Since the last fortnight, Maharashtra has been reporting a daily increase of over 10,000 cases, which has risen to 15,000 in the past few days.