Maharashtra Health Minister Dr Tanaji Sawant on Saturday said the current XBB.1.16 variant of coronavirus was no cause for concern and citizens should not panic about the rise in cases.
The present wave will come down to an endemic stage by May 15 and a downward trend will be seen next month, the minister said while urging citizens not to panic.
Maharashtra on Friday reported 993 COVID-19 cases and five deaths, which took the tally to 81,60,499 and the toll to 1,48,497.
According to the state health department, the XBB.1.16 is the dominant variant of Omicron that was driving the case surge in the state. So far, 681 cases caused by this variant have been detected, and five persons have succumbed.
The minister was speaking at the 'bhoomi poojan' ceremony of the new 900-bed district civil super-speciality hospital in Thane, which was performed by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.
Speaking on the occasion, Shinde said the Thane District Civil Hospital had a major role in the development of the Shiv Sena in Thane and surrounding districts.
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The new super-speciality hospital will be constructed on the same land where the existing medical facility stands.
The 900-bed hospital will be a modern one equipped with all super-speciality facilities such as an air ambulance, he said.
State ministers Ravindra Chavan, Dr Tanaji Sawant, Union MoS Kapil Patil, MLA Sanjay Kelkar, MLC Niranjan Davkhare and a number of elected representatives, and Thane Collector Ashok Shingare and Thane Civil Surgeon Dr Kailas Pawar were present for the ceremony.
The chief minister said a total of Rs 50 crore were disbursed to more than 6,000 beneficiaries from the Chief Minister's Relief Fund during his tenure, which was not done in the past, he said.
Shinde further said the state government has introduced several initiatives in the health sector, including Balasaheb Thackeray Aapla Davakhana scheme, under which citizens could get quick medical treatment near their homes.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, doctors and other medical staff had proved their commitment due to which many patients preferred availing treatment at the civil hospital, he said.
Health Minister Dr Sawant said he will monitor the work on the hospital building, which is likely to be completed and handed over on August 30, 2024.
He also appealed to the chief minister to recognise health department workers who had risked their lives during the pandemic by providing increments, promotions, and also making the temporary employees permanent.
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