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Maharashtra COVID crisis: Nashik has highest cases per million in India; state may extend restrictions beyond May 1


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MUMBAI: COVID-19 data compiled between March 16 and April 15 from major cities of India has shown that Nashik in Maharashtra is the worst hit city in the country in terms of cases per million residents, officials said on Saturday.

The Union health ministry data showed that Nashik has 46,050 COVID-19 cases per million residents, while it is 45,856 in Nagpur, 36,359 in Pune and 17,946 in Mumbai.

However, in absolute numbers, Mumbai's caseload increased by 3,70,896 in the same period, which is significantly higher than any other city in the country, while Nashik added 97,765 cases, they said.

Between March 16 and April 15, the addition to the caseload in Nagpur was 1,34,840, while it 2,47,529 in Pune.

During this period, the maximum daily cases per million stood at 1,859 in Nashik, 2,214 in Nagpur, 1,604 in Pune and 849 in Mumbai, the data revealed.

Meanwhile, the 'break the chain' restrictions in place in Maharashtra to tackle the surge in coronavirus cases may be extended beyond May 1 depending on the outbreak situation, state health minister Rajesh Tope said on Saturday.

Speaking to reporters in Jalna, over 400 kilometres from here, Tope said people have been supportive of the restrictions, though some violations of prohibitory rules under section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) have also been reported.

"We are taking stock of the situation. There have been some violations of CrPC section 144 invoked to curb the COVID-19 spread. We may extend these restrictions beyond May 1, depending on the situation. A decision will be finalized only after reviewing the outcome of these 15 days (when the restrictions will be in place)."

"I must admit people have been supportive of the restrictions," the minister, who has been insisting on strict measures and restriction on the movement of people to contain the outbreak, said.

The state government on April 14 announced several restrictions under a 'break the chain' initiative to rein in what is currently the severest spike in COVID-19 cases anywhere in the country.

the Mumbai police have directed that vehicles engaged in emergency and essential services will have to sport colour-coded stickers, city police commissioner Hemant Nagrale said on Saturday.

The use of the red, green and yellow stickers has been introduced to ensure strict implementation of the restrictions imposed by the Maharashtra government to control the spread of coronavirus, the top cop said.

Vehicles belonging to doctors, medical staff, ambulances and those engaged in supplying medical equipment will have to sport red stickers, while vehicles transporting food, vegetables, fruits, groceries, dairy products, etc, will have to have green stickers, the official said.

People employed in essential services such as civic officials, personnel of electricity, telephone and press departments will have to stick yellow stickers on their vehicles, he said.

The move will discourage unwanted vehicular movement on roads and at check points, easing the movement of ambulances and medical supply vehicles, Nagrale said.

The stickers, which should be six-inch circles, will also be made available at 'nakabandi' points and toll nakas for free, he said, adding that persons found misusing the stickers will be strictly prosecuted.

"If you fall under any of these categories, then please fix the sticker on your vehicle, then come out on the road," he said.

(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)