A day after reporting 4,092 COVID-19 cases, highest single-day tally in more than a month, Maharashtra saw the daily count fall on Monday but it remained above 3,000 for the sixth straight day as the state government termed the situation as 'alarming' and warned of 'harsh decisions' after the recent spike.
Describing as 'alarming' the recent rise in fresh cases in some districts of Maharashtra, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar expressed displeasure over people not following COVID-19-related guidelines.
A meeting has been convened by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in Mumbai on Tuesday to take stock of the situation, he said.
Speaking separately, Health Minister Rajesh Tope said the '3T formula' of tracing, testing and treatment will have to be implemented strictly to curb the COVID-19 spread.
On Monday, the number of daily cases stood at 3,365 in Maharashtra, where 4,092 infections, the highest single-day rise since the first week of January, were reported on Sunday.
Also, 23 more patients succumbed to the infection, while over 3,100 people recovered from the infection.
The new cases took the COVID-19 tally in the state to 20,67,643, an official statement said in Mumbai.
Maharashtra reported 2,216 new cases on February 8 and 2,515 a day later.
On February 10, the number of daily cases surged to 3,451 and the single-day rise has been above the 3,000-mark since then.
Apart from Mumbai, Nagpur and Amravati cities in the Vidarbha region reported over 400 new COVID-19 patients in a day on Monday.
In view of the recent spurt in cases, Pawar on Monday warned of taking some 'harsh decisions' and asked people to be prepared.
Speaking to reporters in Aurangabad, Pawar said, "Harsh decisions can be taken and people should remain prepared. If certain decisions are not taken in time then we will have to pay a heavy cost later."
"I have come across ((reports that) people are not following the COVID-19 guidelines which are aimed at checking the spread of the infection. If the situation worsens, we may need to pay heavy cost for this carelessness.
"The number (of new cases in the state) is alarming. We have seen that lockdown was imposed in many parts of the world again in view of the second wave of the pandemic," the deputy chief minister said.
Talking to reporters separately in Aurangabad, Tope said the state government had managed to flatten the curve in the last one month as far as daily addition of cases was concerned, but the recent rise in numbers in Mumbai, Wardha and some other pockets was 'alarming'.
"We have given instructions that the 3T formula of tracing, testing and treatment be implemented strictly, effectively. Testing needs to be increased. Meanwhile, people also need to follow COVID-19 guidelines," Tope added.
Notably, a central team which visited parts of Maharashtra earlier this month, had in a meeting with the Chief Minister on February 8 noted that rural areas of Vidarbha -- particularly in Amravati, Akola, Yavatmal and Bhandara districts -- reported higher positivity rate.
On the other hand, the number of patients discharged from hospitals across the state on Monday stood at 3,105, that is, more than double of those who headed for homes post recovery a day earlier.
A total of 1,355 patients were discharged on Sunday.
The number of recovered persons in the state stood at 19,78,708, the government said.
The number of active cases in the state increased slightly to 36,201 on Monday from 35,965 a day earlier.
According to the Maharashtra government, Palghar, located adjoining Mumbai, was the only district in the state which did not report a single COVID-19 case on Monday.
With 23 new deaths reported on Monday, the state's fatality count rose to 51,552, the government said.
The health department said of the 23 deaths, 7 were reported during the past 48 hours, while 3 were from the last week.
The remaining 13 deaths were from the period before last week.
Mumbai city continued to report the highest single-day cases in the state with a spike of 493 on Monday, while Nagpur city saw a jump of 415 cases.
Amravati city in Vidarbha saw a rise of 405 cases on Monday.
Pune city in Western Maharashtra and Buldhana district in the Vidarbha region also reported three-digit rise in daily cases of 202 and 173, respectively.
Raigad district in the Konkan region reported deaths of 11 persons, highest in the state on Monday, due to the disease.
In Mumbai and Marathwadas Aurangabad city, three and two individuals died due to COVID-19, respectively.
Out of the total 3,365 new cases, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), accounted for 880.
With this, the total number of cases reported in the MMR -- which includes Mumbai and its satellite towns -- till now has increased to 7,05,441. The region has reported 19,701 deaths till now.
The country's financial capital alone has witnessed 3,14,569 cases and 11,422 deaths till now.
The Akola division -- which covers Amravati, Yavatmal, Buldhana and Washim districts, besides Akola -- in Vidarbha reported a rise of 837 new cases.
The states recovery rate is 95.7 per cent, while the fatality rate is 2.49 per cent, the department said.
With 37,418 new tests on Monday, the number of samples tested so far in the state increased to 1,53,59,026, the government said.
Meanwhile, alarmed by the rising number of coronavirus cases in Amravati since the beginning of February, the district administration has imposed a night curfew but ruled out the imposition of a fresh lockdown.
District Collector Shailesh Naval told PTI on Monday that the rise in cases in Amravati can be attributed to more number of people coming forward for testing.
Amravati district on Monday reported 449 fresh coronavirus positive cases, taking the count to 25,743.
"The curfew is aimed at controlling crowding at public and market places. It does not mean closing down businesses or markets which will function as usual," the collector said.
Maharashtra's COVID-19 tally is as follows: Positive cases: 20,67,643; new cases3,365; deaths: 51,522; discharged 19,78,708; active cases: 36,201; people tested so far: 1,53,59,026.