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Odishatv Bureau

Mumbai: In a shocking development, Maharashtra Housing Minister Jitendra Awhad has tested COVID-19 positive, official sources said here early on Friday. Awhad, along with a dozen of his family members had been in home quarantine since past 10 days.

The decision to put the minister and his family members in quarantine was taken as a precaution after one of his security personnel had tested positive. Earlier, the minister had tested negative, but a subsequent report on Thursday had come positive, alarming the state health authorities.

The senior Nationalist Congress Party was admitted to a hospital on Wednesday for further tests.

It's suspected that the Minister may have unknowingly passed on the infection to several persons who are now under treatment.

The minister had come in contact with a policeman in Thane's Mumbra town during the search for persons who had attended the Tablighi Jamaat event in Delhi earlier this month.

Read More: COVID19 infects Maharashtra in a big way, Odisha faces a huge threat!

Among other contacts if the infected policeman were several other police personnel, mediapersons, officials, including Awhad, sending shockwaves in state circles.

While a senior minister confirmed the development to IANS, there's no reaction from the NCP or the government so far.

Earlier this month health authorities went into a tizzy after a tea-seller.outside the Bandra residence of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had tested COVID-19 positive.

The Covid-19 situation continued to be grim in Maharashtra with 14 deaths and a stupendous 778 new cases on Thursday. With these, the state's total fatalities shot up from 269 on Wednesday to 283 and the number of Covid-19 patients jumped from 5,649 to 6,427.

Twice this week, the state notched its previous highest figures of 552 new cases, creating huge concerns among the health authorities.

Read More: COVID19: Shah Rukh Khan provides 25,000 PPE kits to Maharashtra

Of the total 14 deaths, 6 were recorded in Mumbai, taking the total to 167 and the number of Covid-19 positive patients in the city shot up from 3,683 to 4,205. Pune, which has been sealed along with Pimpri-Chinchwad since Monday till April 27, recorded 5 fresh deaths. There was one death each in Navi Mumbai, Dhule besides Nandurbar - which had been considered a 'Green Zone' at the beginning of this week.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has directed the health authorities in Mumbai and Pune - the worst-hit Covid-19 hotspots - to take measures to slash the death rate and the reduce the doubling rate of Corona patients from the current 7 to 10 days, as recommended by the 5-member Inter-Ministerial Central Team (IMCT) on its tour of the state.

(IANS)

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