By Quaid Najmi
Mumbai, Jan 8 (IANS): Maharashtra Covid-19 cases remained above 40,000 mark but its variant Omicron infections shot above the 1,000 mark, as the state entered into an era of night curfew, besides extending closure of all schools till February 15, health officials said here on Saturday.
The state reported a slight spike in Covid-19 infections and 'suspect cases' whose samples have been sent for genome sequencing touched 900 for the day.
The state Covid-19 count shot up - from 40,925 on Friday to 41,434 cases on Saturday - and fatalities dropped from 20 a day earlier to 13 on Saturday, while the mortality rate fell from 2.07 per cent to 2.05 per cent.
After recording zero Omicron infections on Friday, the number suddenly shot up to 133 of the variant on Saturday, with tally crossing the 1K mark to touch 1,009, with Mumbai remaining at the top of the list.
Worried by the spread, the state government announced curfew-style measures akin to the first wave in 2020 - ban on groups of five or more persons during daytime from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., total ban on all public movements from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., barring essential services, starting from midnight of Sunday-Monday.
Entry will be strictly regulated and enforced in government offices and only 50 per cent attendance with staggered working hours will be allowed.
Gathering for marriages, and other social functions further scaled down to 50 only, only 20 mourners for funerals, 50 per cent intake in restaurants, cinemas and malls, and the shutting of all schools extended from Jan 31 to Feb 15, barring for critical academics for board students in Class X and Class XII.
Swimming pools, gyms, spas, saloons will be shut, barber shops to serve only 50 per cent capacity, besides a host of other restrictions as the third wave has settled in.
Of the 133 new Omicron infections, 129 are from Pune district, 2 from Palghar and one each from Ahmednagar and Mumbai.
Omicron has spread extensively across several districts in the state, and out of the 1,009 cases till date, 439 have recovered.
Mumbai accounts for the bulk of Omicron cases, 566, followed by 286 in Pune, 63 in Thane, 30 in Nagpur, 18 in Raigad, 10 in Kolhapur, 8 in Satara, 6 each in Palghar and Osmanabad, 3 each in Amravati and Nanded, 2 each in Aurangabad, Buldhana, Ahmednagar and Sangli, and 1 each in Akola and Latur.
The health authorities are continuing the intensive surveillance of passengers arriving at the three international airports - Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur - since December 1.
A total of 36,624 travellers have landed here from the "high risk" countries of which 436 have tested positive and 464 from other countries, with all their reports sent for genomic sequencing to confirm if they are afflicted by Omicron.
Besides, another whopping 3,076 positive samples from field surveys conducted since November 1 have been sent for genomic sequencing with the results of 97 are awaited, the officials said.
Of the 41,434 new Covid-19 cases, Mumbai Metropolitan Region alone accounted for 33,134 infections, while Mumbai city remained above the 20K mark with 20,318 new cases.
The next is Pune Circle's 4,749 infectees, Nashik Circle 1,392, Nagpur Circle 981, Kolhapur Circle 489, Latur Circle 251, Aurangabad Circle 226 and Akola Circle's 212.
The number of people sent to home quarantine shot up hugely - from 742,684 on Friday to 845,089 now, and another 1,851 have been shunted to institutional quarantine.
Mumbai, Pune and Thane remain at the top with the highest number of 'active cases' currently in the state, with the afflictions shooting up from 141,492 a day before to 173,238, with the recovery rate improving from 95.08 per cent a day earlier to 95.37 per cent.
The state's cumulative figures of Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic stands at 68,75,656 cases and 1,41,627 deaths, while another 65,57,081 patients have fully recovered till date.