Maharashtra Social Justice Minister Dhananjay Munde has tested positive for coronavirus but he is asymptomatic and his condition is stable, Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope disclosed on Friday. Munde, a Nationalist Congress Party leader, had attended a state cabinet meeting earlier this week and taken part in the NCP's foundation day event two days ago here.
He is a third minister in Maharashtra to contract the virus. Jitendra Awhad (NCP) and Ashok Chavan (Congress) had tested positive earlier; both recovered from the infection.
Asked whether others who had attended the cabinet meeting and the NCP event will be tested, Tope said social distancing was observed on both the occasions.
If anyone has suspicion (of having caught infection) or develops symptoms, he or she should be tested as per the Indian Council of Medical Research's guidelines, Tope said.
"It is true he (Munde) has tested positive. He is stable. He is asymptomatic, but there is a minor problem of breathlessness," the health minister told reporters.
"We are admitting him to Breach Candy Hospital (in South Mumbai). He is a fighter. He will be active in eight to ten days," Tope said.
Munde's private staff including the cook, drivers and personal assistant contracted coronavirus before him, he said.
"He was there at the cabinet meeting and NCP foundation day ceremony. But we observed social distancing during the meeting as instructed by Dada (Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar)," Tope said.
Munde was not a high-risk contact, he said. "High-risk contacts are ones with whom you stay throughout the day and not during an hour-long meeting," he said.
The NCP's foundation day event lasted only five minutes, Tope said, as only state NCP chief Jayant Patil made a short speech.
"Only five NCP leaders were present for the flag hoisting. Social distancing was strictly observed," he added.
"Testing can be conducted if any person develops symptoms. No question of conducting tests if there are no symptoms," Tope said.
The minister urged people to take all precautions including social distancing at public places and workplaces "till a vaccine becomes available".