Maharashtra Coronavirus, Weather Today Live Updates: Security tightened for Ganesh festival; IMD predicts heavy rain in 24 hours

Vinayaka Chavithi 2020, Ganesh murti, coronavirus news, maharashtra coronavirus news, mumbai weather, mumbai rain, ganesh chaturthi, maharashtra coronavirus cases, mumbai news, corona news, mumbai corona cases, mumbai latest news, mumbai coronavirus, pune weather, mumbai coronavirus news, mumbai corona, mumbai corona cases, maharashtra coronavirus, thane corona cases, covid 19 news, covid 19 news, maharashtra lockdown, pune coronavirus news, thane coronavirus news, maharashtra news, mumbai coronavirus news, mumbai covid 19 newsGaneshotsav celebrations began across Maharashtra on Saturday. (Express photo/Ganesh Shirsekar)

Maharashtra, Mumbai, Pune Coronavirus, Weather Today Live Updates: The Covid-19 tally in Maharashtra rose to 6,57,450 on Friday after 14,161 new cases were reported, the state health department said. With 339 fatalities, the death toll due to the pandemic rose to 21,698. The number of cases in Mumbai rose to 1,34,223 with 1,406 new patients detected, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said.

The Mumbai civic body has reverted 72 small hospitals and nursing homes in the city into non-Covid facilities and reduced at least 1,800 beds under Covid treatment to cater to rising monsoon ailments. Of the 1,800 beds converted back to normal beds, 400 are intensive care units.

In other news, Ganesh pandals wore a deserted look as the 10-day celebrations for Ganeshotsav began across the state today. Only a few volunteers and workers milling around in masks were spotted. Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh urged citizens to avoid crowding in view of the pandemic. He also urged Muslim community members to observe Muharram, which falls in the month-end, in a simple manner and avoid gathering, an official statement said.

Meanwhile, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted heavy to very heavy rainfall, accompanied with with gusty winds, in Mumbai and neighbouring Thane, Raigad and Palghar districts over the next 24 hours.

Maharashtra’s 108 ambulances have assisted as many as 4.42 lakh people in both Covid-19 and non-Covid emergencies since March with the highest number of patients served from Mumbai and Pune. Till August 15, more than 900 ambulances have been pressed into service and 158 drivers have been hospitalised or sent to home isolation due to Covid-19. Two state EMS ambulance drivers have also succumbed to Covid-19. From March till August 15, at least 34,490 people from Mumbai and 31,489 from Pune have been assisted by ambulance.

Citing the increasing number of Covid-19 patients in rural parts of Pune, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Friday directed the district administration to give special attention to check the spread of infection in both rural and urban parts of the district. “The coronavirus infection is spreading in the rural parts of the district. It is necessary to bring a check on it at any cost in the rural area, along with the urban area. Everyone should give special attention to handle the situation,” Pawar said during a meeting to review the situation of pandemic in the district. He directed officials to ensure that there should be no shortage of beds for treatment of Covid-19 patients while taking efforts to reduce the positivity and fatality rates in the district.

Acting on complaints of inflated bills of Covid-19 treatment in private hospitals, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has deducted a total of Rs 25.69 lakh in the last seven days after inspecting bills of 48 patients. There had been many complaints about private hospitals levying inflated bills of huge amounts for the treatment of Covid-19 patients in the city. The district administration appointed senior administrative officers and medical officers for the inspection of bills above Rs 1.5 lakh within one hour of when they were prepared by respective hospitals. “There were 68 complaints of inflated bills in the last seven days, with a total amount of Rs 1.71 crore,” said Pune Mayor Murlidhar Mohol. “The inspection of bills was done, and a total deduction of Rs 25.69 lakh was enforced on 48 bills.”

The committee appointed by the state government to look into the alleged inflated bill given to Covid-19 patients has asked the Aditya Birla Hospital to refund Rs 5 lakh to 25 patients who underwent treatment at the hospital. Yashwantrao Chavan Memorial (YCM) Hospital’s deputy medical superintendent Dr Shankar Jadhav, who heads the audit team of the government-appointed committee, said the hospital has been asked to refund the amount as they found it has “overcharged patients”. “On Thursday, we sent them a letter to this effect. The hospital told us they will get back to us by Saturday,” Dr Jadhav told The Indian Express.

Every year on Ganesh Chaturthi, when ‘Mumbai cha Raja’ is brought to Ganesh Gully, in Mumbai’s Lalbaug area, the idol is welcomed by huge crowds of the faithful and deep-throated chants of “Ganpati Bappa Morya”. Not this year. On Friday, a day ahead of Ganesh Chaturthi, the festival that kicks off the 10-day Ganeshotsav celebrations, the pandal is almost deserted, except for a few volunteers and workers milling around in masks. As the city’s Covid count climbs steadily, the Ganesh pandals, a defining feature of Mumbai’s streets around this time of the year, are bracing for low-key celebrations. While the larger pandals usually see upwards of 400 visitors a day, this year, the organisers are urging devotees to stay at home, promising to live-stream proceedings on social media platforms.

As many as 264 doctors have died of Covid-19 so far across the country, according to Indian Medical Association (IMA). Dr R V Asokan, honorary national secretary general of IMA, said with rising cases, number of fatalities was likely to increase by mid October. A dedicated team at IMA has been collating data from over 1,700 branches in India and the same has been sent to the Centre. According to the IMA, till August 21, a total of 1,953 doctors have been infected, including 890 practising doctors, 767 resident doctors and 296 house surgeons. IMA authorities said the cases included those reported by IMA branches across the country, adding that a red alert among the medical community to take care and follow guidelines had been issued.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has reverted 72 small hospitals and nursing homes in the city into non-Covid facilities and reduced at least 1,800 beds under Covid treatment to cater to rising monsoon ailments. Of the 1,800 beds reverted back to normal beds, 400 are intensive care units. Senior civic officials said they want to keep small hospitals’ beds free for people suffering from dengue, malaria, leptospirosis so that patients have a health facility in the neighbourhood to get admitted in. The BMC was also noticing treatment difficulties to manage Covid-19 patients in smaller hospitals and nursing homes where there is limited staff and logistic issues. “We are keeping jumbo facilities and tertiary care hospitals for Covid-19 patients. We can manage coronavirus cases with existing bed capacity. Smaller hospitals can focus on monsoon ailments,” said Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner.

The Mumbai police have beefed up security to keep a hawk-eyed vigil in the city amid Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations, an official said. “Apart from the local police, a company of Rapid Action Force, three companies of State Reserve Police Force, local arms and riot control police have been deployed in the city,” an official told news agency PTI. Quick response teams, bomb disposal squads and anti-terrorism cells have also been put on alert to prevent any untoward incident, he added. According to him, local police stations will provide security cover to Ganesh pandals in their areas, while an additional deployment of 30 police personnel will be present at the city’s famous Lalbaugcha Raja Ganesh pandal. “Moreover, the police will monitor the happenings in the city with the help of 5,000 CCTV cameras and also use drones for aerial surveillance,” he said, adding that personnel in plain clothes have been manning markets as well. Besides, Muharram is also being observed in a simple manner as the government has not allowed processions in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, he added.

On account of a well-marked low-pressure area and a shifting monsoon trough, the India Meteorological Department on Friday predicted heavy to very heavy rainfall in Mumbai and neighbouring Thane, Raigad and Palghar districts over the next 24 hours with gusty winds. An orange alert indicating heavy to very heavy rainfall has been issued for Saturday for Mumbai, Palghar, Thane, Raigad and Ratnagiri districts. “A well-marked low-pressure area over east Madhya Pradesh and adjoining north Chhattisgarh now lies over central part of east Madhya Pradesh and neighbourhood. It is very likely to gradually move nearly westwards across west Madhya Pradesh in next 3-4 days. Under the influence, Southwest monsoon flow had strengthened over the Arabian Sea resulting in enhancement of rainfall activity,” said IMD’s evening bulletin.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation revised its home isolation guidelines again Friday to allow coronavirus-afflicted patients aged above 50 years to observe quarantine at home or opt for government or private hospitals. Civic officials said they will only “counsel” patients from the age group to seek institutional isolation at Covid Care Centres, but not make it mandatory. On Wednesday, BMC’s executive health officer Dr Mangala Gomare had issued guidelines to all assistant commissioners stating “no home isolation should be allowed” for Covid-19 patients aged above 50 years, irrespective of their symptoms and co-morbidities. “A lot of people said there will be fear in getting tested if institutional quarantine is made compulsory. We have changed the wordings of the guidelines. Our health workers will try and counsel patients for institutional quarantine,” Gomare said Friday.

The Supreme Court’s decision to allow three Jain temples of Shri Parshwatilak Shwetambar Murtipujak Tapagacch Jain Trust to remain open for Paryushan festivities for the remaining two days was welcomed by the Jain community. Leaders from the community, however, also sought a further relaxation to allow all Jain temples to remain open. The state government has said while it will implement the apex court’s order, there were no plans of allowing further relaxation to any religious place in Maharashtra. “Partly, we have got success but our main prayer was for the benefit of the entire Jain community of Mumbai and MMR (Mumbai Metropolitan Region). Unfortunately, other religious trusts did not approach the court. Hence, they have not got relief. If the state can allow commercial activities, then why not worship at religious places?” said Yugbhushansuri Pandit Maharaj Saheb of Shri Parshwatilak Shwetamber Jain Sangh, Tilak Nagar, which will be opened starting Saturday.

The Supreme Court Friday allowed three Jain temples in Mumbai to open for two days of the holy Paryushan season with strict adherence to Covid-19 control protocols. It wondered why the government, which is allowing activities where money is involved, has a different stand in matters of religion. “We find it very strange that every activity they are allowing involves commercial interests. They are willing to take the risk when money is involved but when it comes to religion, they say there is Covid and we can’t do this or that,” Chief Justice of India S A Bobde, heading a three-judge bench, said while allowing the Jain temples in Dadar (West), Byculla and Chembur to open on August 22 and 23 “for devotees to perform the rituals connected with Paryushan”.

There are 1,64,562 active coronavirus cases in Maharashtra, while 34,92,966 people have been tested so far. Currently, 11,92,685 people are in home quarantine and 35,132 in institutional quarantine. Also, 11,749 patients were discharged from hospitals during the day, taking the number of recovered cases to 4,70,873. The recovery rate in the state is 71.62 percent while the case fatality rate is 3.30 percent.

Extending his greetings on the occassion of Ganesh festival to the citizens, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: “Greetings on the auspicious festival of Ganesh Chaturthi. May the blessings of Bhagwan Shri Ganesh always be upon us. May there be joy and prosperity all over.” 

Welcome to our live blog. We are looking at the coronavirus situation, Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations and the weather developments today. The Covid-19 tally in Maharashtra rose to 6,57,450 on Friday after 14,161 new cases were reported, the state health department said. On the other hand, Ganesh pandals wore a deserted look as the 10-day celebrations for Ganeshotsav began across the state today. Follow this space for more updates.

Of the new cases recorded on Friday, 3,833 were from the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR),including 1,406 in Mumbai alone.

There were 113 deaths in MMR on Friday, including 42 in Mumbai.

The total number of coronavirus cases in MMR is 3,02,998 which includes 1,34,228 from Mumbai, the state health department said.

The death toll in MMR is 12,081 including 7,356 from Mumbai.

Elsewhere in the state, Nashik city saw 538 new cases, Ahmednagar city 208, Pune city 1,692, Pimpri-Chinchwad 946, Kolhapur city 168, Sangli city 172, Aurangabad city 164, Nanded city 160, Nagpur city 976.

Of 339 deaths recorded in the state on Friday, 260 took place in the last 48 hours and 48 in the last week, the health department release said, adding that 31 deaths had taken place even before the last week.

Coronavirus figures in Maharashtra are as follows: Total cases 6,57,450, New cases 14,161, Death toll 21,698, Recoveries 4,70,873, Active cases 1,64,562, People tested 34,92,966.