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Mumbai: Containment zones, sealed buildings doubled

As the number of cases in the city has gone up drastically in the last one month, the number of containment zones, sealed buildings and floors have more than doubled
By Mehul R Thakkar
PUBLISHED ON MAR 31, 2021 12:34 AM IST

As the number of cases in the city has gone up drastically in the last one month, the number of containment zones, sealed buildings and floors have more than doubled. However, municipal commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal on Tuesday said that citizens do not need to panic about shortage of beds in the city as out of the 85,000 cases in the last 48 days, only around 15,000 were symptomatic patients and only 8,000 patients required a bed in the hospital. However, Chahal added that citizens need to show Covid-19 appropriate behaviour else authorities will have no option left but to act.

In the context of another lockdown, Chahal said, “I cannot predict the future, but we need to ensure there is Covid-19 appropriate behaviour. I cannot predict about future now so I cannot comment on the lockdown. But if people do not behave and they continue crowding, the government or BMC will not have any choice considering we cannot allow people to die, and we have to act here.”

At the moment, according to BMC officials, due to the night curfew in place between 8 pm to 7am, gathering of more than five people is restricted. However, trains and buses will continue, one can go in their private cars as far as they are not more than 5 persons.

Emphasising that the situation is not out of control, Chahal who took the Covid-19 vaccine on Tuesday said, “We are detecting high number of cases as we have increased the number of tests. The number of tests will soon go up to 60,000 per day and the number of infected people can be as high as 10,000 per day. Of these, the number of people in need of a bed will be relatively small given the current situation. The mortality rate in Mumbai is also low now. For the growing number of patients, bed management is being done through ward war rooms as before.”

Chahal added, “A total of 85,000 patients were found in the 48 days from February 10 to March 30. Of these, 69,500 patients were found to be asymptomatic. They were kept in isolation at home. The remaining 15,500 patients developed symptoms of which only 8,000 people had to be admitted to the hospital. Others had mild symptoms and were cured by medication either at quarantine centres or by home isolation.”

According to BMC’s data, Bhandup, Kanjurmarg and Vikhroli area have the highest number of containment zones followed by Andheri West, Oshiwara, and Mulund having the highest number of sealed buildings and floors. As per the data, there were 12 active containment zones in the city on February 26 that increased to 64 active containment zones on March 28 followed by sealed building count increasing from 127 on February 26 to 578 on March 28. Further, in case of sealed floors, the count increased from 1,849 to 7,475.

As per the BMC’s protocol, when multiple cases are reported from a slum cluster or chawl, the entire chawl or slum settlement is declared as containment zone. Whereas in case of high-rises, the BMC seals a building completely, if more than five cases are reported in one building. If there are less than five cases, the BMC seals the entire floor on which the patient resides instead of sealing the entire building.

In terms of overall data, the BMC has traced more than 5.2 million high-risk and low-risk contacts of positive patients in the last one year. Further, in city, overall more than 4.7 million citizens have completed their quarantine and around 0.4 million are in home quarantine.

Meanwhile, on maximum cases being reported from high rises, Chahal said, “I would appeal to the managing committee of the housing societies, considering they are equally responsible for ensuring their societies are virus-free. Everything cannot be done by policing, and we need to ensure that there is Covid-19 appropriate behaviour among citizens.”

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