Mumbai: Maharashtra has been recording a rise in coronavirus cases of late. On Thursday, the state recorded 14,317 new coronavirus cases, the highest one-day spike this year, which took its caseload to 22,66,374, a health official said.

Not only Mumbai, Pune and Thane but several cities and towns in Maharashtra, including Vidarbha and Marathwada regions, have been witnessing a spike in cases. Lockdown or restrictions have been imposed in several cities or districts in the state in a bid to prevent the spread of the virus.

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The authorities are attributing it to crowding witnessed during the gram panchayat elections held mid-January this year and a widespread disregard for the norms by common people as well as politicians.

News agency PTI quoted Dr Subhash Salunke, advisor to the Maharashtra government on Covid management, “There should have been rigorous testing of people and contact tracing. These are the two basic but the most important tools of curbing the coronavirus spread.”

The most prominent reason behind the surge in COVID-19 cases in February was crowding witnessed during when gram panchayat elections held mid-January, he said.

“Look at the political rallies and gatherings that have taken place in January and February by ruling parties in the state, including after Nana Patole’s appointment as Congress’s Maharashtra unit chief,” PTI quoted a Mumbai-based political observer.

Meanwhile, as many as 23,285 new COVID-19 cases and 117 deaths were reported from India in the last 24 hours, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare informed today. With this, the total number of positive coronavirus cases reported in the country now stands at 1,13,08,846, including 1,97,237 active cases and 1,58,306 deaths.

A total of 1,09,53,303 patients have recovered so far, including 15,157 recoveries in the last 24 hours.

Six States – Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, cumulatively account for 85.91 per cent of the new coronavirus cases reported in the past 24 hours.

With the second phase of the nation-wide vaccination drive underway, as many as 2,61,64,920 doses of the vaccine have been administered so far.

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