BMC officials fine citizens for violating Covid-19 norms at CSMT on Friday. (Bhushan Koyande/ HT)
BMC officials fine citizens for violating Covid-19 norms at CSMT on Friday. (Bhushan Koyande/ HT)

Mumbai sees 823 new Covid-19 cases, highest since Dec 3

The city on Friday reported 823 new Covid-19 cases, the highest in the city since December 3, when Mumbai reported 878 new cases
By Eeshanpriya M S
PUBLISHED ON FEB 19, 2021 11:56 PM IST

The city on Friday reported 823 new Covid-19 cases, the highest in the city since December 3, when Mumbai reported 878 new cases. Mumbai also reported five deaths, taking the toll to 11,437. Mumbai’s doubling rate is 393 days, and its growth rate of Covid-19 cases is 0.18%.

As Mumbai reported over 700 new cases for second day in a row on Thursday, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) announced tight measures to check the spurt, including stricter containment zone rules and quarantine norms. Clean-up marshals began night patrolling of the city from Thursday to ensure people wear face masks at public places. From this weekend, ward-level teams will begin surprise inspections of marriage halls, restaurants and cinema halls to ensure social distancing, and that the organisers and management, apart from visitors, are wearing masks. Criminal action will be taken against those flouting rules.

On Thursday, Mumbai reported 736 new cases and 721 on Wednesday. In the past two days, Mumbai’s doubling rate has dropped to 417 days on Thursday, from 445 days on Tuesday, and 455 days on Monday.

Municipal commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal, in a statement on Thursday, said, “Although the spread of Covid-19 in Mumbai is under control, there has been a surge in the number of cases in the past few days. Hence all BMC machineries need to be extra vigilant. As public life returns to normalcy, it becomes all the more important for citizens to follow all Covid-19 prevention norms. It is also pertinent to take stringent action against offenders to limit the spread of the virus.”

The BMC has now reverted to its earlier decision of sealing entire buildings if more than five Covid-19 patients are detected. Police cases will be filed against high-risk contacts of patients found violating home quarantine, which can result in up to six months of imprisonment, or fine, or both. All persons who are to be home quarantined are being hand-stamped for identification. The number of clean-up marshals patrolling the city will be doubled to 4,800 from the present 2,400 in the coming week. The Mumbai Police are now authorised to act as marshals and fine those not wearing face masks in public places.

Not more than 50 people are allowed at weddings and religious places at a time, and restaurants, malls and cinema theatres can function at 50% of their occupancy capacity. All assistant commissions (ward officers) will submit daily reports on action and fine to the deputy municipal commissioners of each zone, who in turn will report to the municipal commissioner daily.

Vishwas Shankarwar, deputy municipal commissioner incharge of zone 7, north Mumbai, said, “We are in touch with doctors and hospital staff to find cases and understand which areas are more affected and the source of infection in positive patients. The ward officers will chalk out area-specific measures.”

Bharat Marathe, deputy municipal commissioner of zone 5, said, “Ward-level teams will conduct surprise inspections at restaurants, and marriage halls to ensure social distancing rules are followed, organisers and caterers and servers are wearing masks, and following Covid-19 hygiene. The target is upto five marriage halls per day.”

In slums and densely populated areas, mobile vans are conducting tests. Kiran Dighavkar, assistant commissioner of G/North ward, which covers densely populated areas of Dharavi, Mahim, said, “In slums like Dharavi, and high-risk areas such as Mahim and Dadar, mobile vans have started doing rounds. Fifteen high-risk contacts of every positive patient are being traced.”

At railway terminus, such as Dadar, passengers from Gujarat and other states are being screened before being allowed to leave the station premises.

Mumbai mayor Kishori Pednekar on Friday conducted a surprise inspection of SevenHills hospital to review preparatory work, and also inspected a hotel where international travellers are being quarantined. “A floor of the hotel has been cordoned off to quarantine passengers. Separate staff has been appointed to cater to these people. This staff will not interact with the rest of the visitors. Covid-19 testing of this staff is being done from time to time,” she said, adding, she will no longer attend any ceremonies, functions, and will not accept invitations for weddings.

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