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COVID-19: All is not well in Maharashtra

As the time is passing the cases of COVID-19 coming to surface. 10 residents of Andheri, all from one family, have tested positive for Coronavirus and it is said that the family had attended a wedding in Surat one month ago, where they might have caught the infection. Imagine, at the same time there was stadium inauguration in Gujarat where lakhs of people were attendees. That is the reason Gujarat and Maharashtra are at high risk. Now the irony is that during such challenging time the hospitals are also partially shutting down. Security personal are at risk. Over 150 employees of Jaslok in quarantine, swabs of 270 Wockhardt staff members sent for testing. Two of Mumbai’s biggest private hospitals – Mumbai Central’s Wockhardt and Jaslok on Pedder Road – nearly shut down on Monday with a large number of their employees testing positive for coronavirus. A staggering 52 employees of Wockhardt have now tested positive, a 100 per cent increase over Sunday’s 26. Thirty of them are being treated at Seven Hills Hospital, the civic-run COVID-19 special facility. Jaslok has reported 15 positive cases, two of them patients. Over 150 employees of Jaslok are now in quarantine, crippling the multi-speciality hospital’s operations. Both hospitals have ceased new admissions and only those patients who cannot be discharged or transferred are now occupying beds in wards and special rooms.

The BMC has declared the two hospitals as “containment zones” with restrictions imposed on entry and exit. Both hospitals have ceased new admissions and only those patients who cannot be discharged or transferred are now occupying beds in wards and special rooms. The BMC has declared the two hospitals as “containment zones” with restrictions imposed on entry and exit. Wockhardt identified a 70-year-old patient, who was admitted to the hospital on March 17 for a cardiac emergency, as the index case – the source of the infection. On March 26, the patient developed cough and was tested for COVID-19, which turned out positive. The hospital staff were thus unknowingly exposed to the infection. Jaslok too said the spread of infection started with a patient who was admitted for a different illness. The patient, had no travel history and tested positive few days back and the hospital “sensed the need to make diligent checks. In continuation to the precautionary measure, the hospital has suspended its OPD services and elective admissions temporarily. The hospital has tested over a thousand staff members and all have tested negative. Nurses who tested positive have been shifted from their residential quarters in Vile Parle to the hospital. Police have been posted outside both the hospitals to ensure that the containment zone norms are followed. With 67 cases, the two hospitals now have more cases than many of the city’s wards. Only the G-South ward has more cases than the two hospitals put together at 68.

Meanwhile, Matoshree too is in scare, after a 45-year-old tea vendor who operated from a locality in the vicinity of the residence of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in Bandra East tested positive for COVID-19, over 170 police and SRPF personnel, some of whom were in the CM’s security detail, were moved from the area as a precautionary measure. The tea vendor operated close to the residence of Union minister Ramdas Athavale and several security personnel of both Mumbai Police and SRPF, some in the security detail of the chief minister, would visit the stall for tea. Matoshree has emerged as the administrative seat of Maharashtra over the past few months as Thackeray prefers to conduct the majority of his business from his residence. A team from BMC’s health department reached Kalanagar in the evening and sanitised the whole area. According to officials, about 170 personnel from police and SRPF have been quarantine in Uttar Bhartiya Sangh building in Bandra East. Police officials claimed the vendor’s shop had been shut since March 24 and they are on the lookout for people who could have been in contact with the vendor between March 20-24.Officials claimed the BMC has started taking swab samples of some of the personnel who were part of Thackeray’s security detail and had come in contact with the tea stall owner. Around 150 personnel are guarding the chief minister and his family during the day time, while around 120 are guarding him in the night hours.

Meanwhile, not only Matoshree but Uddhav Thackeray, who became the Chief Minister of the state without being a member of either house of the state legislature, now has a new problem knocking on his door. He will have to get elected to either house before May 27 with the Election Commission postponing the election for the nine seats of the legislative council, whose term ends on April 24. Containment of the virus in Maharashtra is directly related to the political stability of the Maha Vikas Aghadi. If Thackeray fails to get elected as a legislator (which currently seems unlikely), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) may use all its power to rule the state again. After the fall of the Kamal Nath government in Madhya Pradesh, the opposition has claimed that next change of government will be in Maharashtra. As all the nine seats of the legislative council are elected by the members of legislative assembly, Thackeray was certain of being elected as the MVA has majority in the assembly. He can again stake claim to form the government or some other leader can lead the government for time being till Thackeray gets elected as a legislator. Some political experts have suggested the route of getting nominated to the legislative council through the governor quota. There are two vacancies due to the resignation of two members whose term was scheduled to expire on June 6. It is most unlikely that the governor will approve the nomination of Thackeray for just one and half month. Earlier, in December 2019 too, he didn’t accept such a recommendation of appointment of two leaders from t at the lockdown will be lifted immediately after April 15, 2020.

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Dr Vaidehi Taman
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond The News (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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