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Maharashtra records first fatality from Delta plus strain

80-year-old man succumbs to infection in Ratnagiri

An 80-year-old patient from Ratnagiri district in the Konkan region became Maharashtra’s first fatality due to the Delta plus variant of the novel coronavirus, Health Minister Rajesh Tope confirmed on Friday.

District officials said the deceased, who was from Ratnagiri’s Sangameshwar taluk, was suffering from other age-related comorbidities as well.

Mr. Tope, speaking in Jalna, said that of the 21 ‘Delta plus’ patients identified thus far in seven districts across Maharashtra, only one had succumbed to the infection; the others were stable and some had been discharged from hospital.

While urging people to strictly observe COVID-19 appropriate behaviour in wake of the spread of the new variant, the Health Minister ruled out suggestions for an immediate stringent lockdown.

“The Delta variant is not new… with one death, the remaining 20 cases are being closely monitored by authorities. While there are not a large number of patients at present, we are collecting more samples in each of the 36 districts and the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) is assisting the State government in this,” Mr. Tope said.

He observed that the proportion of the cases in which the Delta plus variants were detected was barely 0.005%.

“So, while the Delta plus type has not yet grown significantly and not an immediate matter of concern, the variant’s properties are serious,” Mr. Tope said.

The highest number of Delta plus variant cases have been found in Ratnagiri, followed by seven in Jalgaon, two in Mumbai, and one case each in Palghar, Thane and Sindhudurg districts.

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