He announced that the laboratory capacity to test samples of suspected novel coronavirus will be expanded to 350 per day from the present 100 per day at the civic-run Kasturba hospital in Mumbai.
Tope said another laboratory will be set up at KEM hospital in Mumbai in the next two days. New laboratories will also come up at JJ Hospital, the Haffkine Institute--also in Mumbai, besides at a hospital in Pune in the next 15-20 days.
He said a decision has already been taken on this regard. "Orders will be issued either on Monday or Tuesday and the facility will be ready within 15-20 days," he added.
"Maharashtra has 32 confirmed positive cases of novel coronavirus as of now including nine people who are admitted at Kasturba hospital," the minister told reporters after reviewing the quarantine facility and other infrastructure at Kasturba hospital.
Tope said 250 samples can be tested at the new facility at KEM hospital.
Meanwhile, the state government has appealed to the Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) to postpone its upcoming exams till March 31, apparently in view of rising cases of viral transmissions.
"The chief minister has appealed MPSC, which is an autonomous body, to conduct exams after March 30. I am confident the MPSC will conduct the exams after March 30," he said.