Covid Variant XBB.1.16 Is No Reason To Worry, Says Maharashtra Health Minister


Maharashtra Health Minister Dr Tanaji Sawant on Saturday said the currently spreading Covid-19 variant XBB.1.16 was not a reason to worry. He asked the citizens not to panic amid the surge in cases in the state, reported news agency PTI. Sawant also stated the current Covid wave will go down to an endemic stage by May 15 this year, adding that a downward trend will be witnessed next month. However, the state health department has acknowledged the XBB.1.16 to be the dominant variant of Omicron.

With over 681 cases of XBB.1.16  Covid variant, the state has been witnessing a surge in cases. A total of five persons have already succumbed to this variant, reported PTI.

The minister was speaking at the ‘Bhoomi Poojan’ ceremony of the new 900-bed district civil super-speciality hospital in Thane. Chief Minister Eknath Shinde had performed the rituals.

While talking during the event, Shinde said the Thane District Civil Hospital had a major role in the development of the Shiv Sena in Thane and adjoining districts, reported PTI.

He said the new super-speciality hospital will be built on the same land where the existing medical facility stands at present. Shinde further stated the 900-bed hospital will be equipped with modern facilities along with all super-speciality facilities including air ambulance.

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Other dignitaries present on the occasion were state ministers Ravindra Chavan, Dr Tanaji Sawant, Union MoS Kapil Patil, MLA Sanjay Kelkar, MLC Niranjan Davkhare and a number of elected representatives. Thane Collector Ashok Shingare and Thane Civil Surgeon Dr Kailas Pawar were also present for the ceremony.

While giving more details on the project, Shinde said a total of Rs 50 crore were already disbursed to more than 6,000 beneficiaries from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund during his tenure so far. He also noted that this was not done in the past, reported PTI.

Health Minister Dr Sawant said he will be monitoring the work on the hospital construction. The building is likely to be completed for hand-over on August 30, next year.

Sawant also made an appeal to the Chief Minister to ensure increments, and promotions to the health workers who worked hard throughout the pandemic. He also urged the CM to provide temporary employees status of permanent workers. 

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