The swine flu scare has receded markedly in Mumbai as the dahi handi celebrations showed on Friday. The Central government too issued new guidelines saying those with mild symptoms of the flu need not get tested or take Tamiflu. Instead they merely need to stay quarantined at home, and see a doctor once a day. The symptoms would disappear on their own.
Top politicians cancelled their dahi handi events but many local organisers stepped in. The prize money on offer saw a huge dip with the top organisers pulling out but this hardly affected the enthusiasm of the people, who ventured out in large numbers. Hardly anyone bothered to wear masks.
Congress MP Sanjay Nirupam was one of the few politicians to organise a dahi handi despite Chief Minister Ashok Chavan’s appeal to people keep the celebrations this year low-key in view of the public health risks.
Many politicians donated to charity the money they would have offered as a prize.
The total number of swine flu cases in Mumbai rose to 199.
In Mumbai, 38 persons tested positive. The state government said 11 private hospitals in the city had been allowed to treat swine flu patients.
The Union Health Ministry guidelines divide H1N1 patients into three categories. The first, showing mild symptoms, would need neither testing nor treatment, the second, showing moderate symptoms, would need treatment with Tamiflu but not hospitalisation. Only the third category of severely affected needed to get admitted.