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Maharashtra to ramp up testing

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Mumbai: In an effort to control the rapid rise in Covid-19 cases, the Maharashtra Government is planning to conduct more testing. Rajesh Tope Public health minister on Tuesday said a complete lockdown would be unaffordable for the state. Maharashtra chief secretary Sitaram Kunte, who is reviewing the Covid-19 situation in the state, may issue new guidelines by the end of this week.

Minister Rajesh Tope said, “We’re increasing testing, tracking & tracing in the state. We are also going to increase the number of vaccination centres.”

While the state is not likely to regulate timings of regular shops, places with high footfalls, such as malls, restaurants and cinema halls, could be completely shut. Despite the rise in cases in March, Maharashtra reported a steady decline in the Covid-19 fatality rate — down from 0.4% on March 7 to 0.3% in the week ending March 28.

Pune district has been conducting the highest number of vaccinations in the state, averaging more than 35,000 doses daily for the past few days.

With several parts of the country reporting a second wave of Covid-19 cases, the Centre Tuesday warned that the situation is going from “bad to worse” and urged states to achieve 100 per cent vaccination coverage of those above the age of 45 years in surge districts within the next two weeks. The Government will roll out the third phase of its vaccination drive from April 1 to cover all those above the age of 45.

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