6-day-old among Maha's 335 Covid-19 cases, toll rises to 16


Mumbai, April 1 A six-day-old male infant, his 26-year old mother, a policeman and a nurse are among the 33 new Covid-19 positive cases clocked in Maharashtra, taking the state's total number to 335, while the number of deaths shot up by five to 16 on Wednesday, officials said here.

"My son was born late at night on March 26 at a Chembur private hospital where a patient undergoing treatment was later found Covid-19 positive," the child's distraught father V. Singh, 32, told IANS.

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"We were asked to immediately leave the hospital which was being quarantined and the doctors refused to attend to us. But, we refused to leave. The reports of my wife and our son came positive around midnight and since then we are in Kasturba Hospital," said Singh, breaking down.

He requested the government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Health Minister Rajesh Tope to ensure proper care for his infant son and wife.

The Covid-19 death toll shot up by five today - the single highest in a day so far, a senior health officer said.

They include a 51-year old man and a 75-year old man, both from Mumbai with no history of foreign travel, while details of other victims are awaited, health officials said.

In a related development, Modi called Thackeray and is understood to have discussed the situation pertaining to Covid-19 in the state, besides Thursday morning's video-conference issues, said an aide to the CM.

Among the other patients found positive on Wednesday include a nurse and a patient from a well-known private hospital, a policeman, a first case of a man infected from the heavily congested Dharavi - notorious as Asia's biggest slum in central Mumbai.

As many as 30 of the new cases are from Mumbai, 2 from Pune besides one from Buldhana, amid the highest spurt of 115 cases in the past 36 hours.

Besides Mumbai and Pune, the other cases are in Thane, Sangli, Nagpur, Ahmednagar, Yavatmal, Buldhana, Satara, Kolhapur, Aurangabad, Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri, Gondia, Jalgaon, Nashik, besides one from Gujarat.

The deaths were reported from Mumbai, Palghar, Pune and Buldhana.

The recent victims include the state's youngest victim, a 40-year old suburban home-maker with no history of foreign travel, and a medico in his early 80s, both from Mumbai.

Thackeray and Tope have again appealed to the people to remain indoors, avoid crowding even while making essential purchases and maintain social distancing at all costs.

"The 'war against coronavirus' has reached a crucial stage and this is the time to exercise extreme precautions. Please do not step out of your homes for your own safety," the CM pleaded.

In the wake of the Tablighi Jamaat scare, Thackeray urged that all types of religious or social gatherings should be avoided to avoid a Delhi-like situation in Maharashtra.

According to officials, one of the reasons for the huge increase in cases is attributed to the Mumbai population density, especially in sprawling dingy slums with tiny tenements - which make up half of the country's commercial capital.

The slums house millions of people eking out an existence in cramped quarters, with common sanitation facilities, insufficient water supply, no open spaces or greenery, making them a potentially fertile ground for diseases with little or no scope for 'social distancing'.