Senior Indian National Congress (INC) politician, Maharashtra Public Works Department Minister and former chief minister of the state Ashok Chavan has tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID).
Ashok Chavan is the second minister in the Uddhav Thackeray government to contract the disease after Housing Minister Jitendra Awhad. Chavan is currently admitted at a hospital in Nanded. His condition is stable, sources said, adding that he was reportedly under home quarantine for the last few days.
The minister has been travelling between Mumbai and his home district in Marathwada frequently, sources said.
“He contracted the infection a few days back and is now undergoing treatment,” an official added.
On Sunday, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had said the fight against the novel coronavirus is going to be tougher now as the state’s case tally mounts.
He assured people that the government is prepared with extra health facilities to deal with any emerging situation out of this virus outbreak.
“We are adding to our healthcare capacity – field hospitals are being set up, ICU beds are being added and together we have 7,000 beds,” Thackeray said. “We will have 14,000 beds by next month. We have learnt that more than ventilators, patients needed oxygen support. So we are increasing beds with oxygen facility in field hospitals,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Maharashtra toll of coronavirus crossed the 50,000 mark yesterday with the highest single-day infections of 3,041 patients, besides 58 deaths. The Health Department said with the new cases, 33,988 were ‘active cases’.
Of the total 58 fatalities, 39 were recorded in Mumbai alone, taking the city deaths up from 949 to 988 now, while the number of COVID-19 positive patients here shot up by 1,725 cases to touch 30,542.
The state has been recording over 50 fatalities and over 2,000 new patients for the past one week now, with the previous highest figure standing at 2,940 cases on 22 May. With 58 fatalities — down by 18 from highest 76 notched on 19 May — the state death toll has touched 1,635.
Mumbai’s congested Dharavi slum continued to be a major hotspot with 27 new cases on Sunday, taking the total number of infectees to 1,541 and 59 deaths till date. In a new initiative, the civic authorities are experimenting with group ‘laughter therapy’ for the people of Dharavi in a bid to ease stress and anxiety levels in the crowded slum district, now largely in containment.