(Bachchan Kumar/ HT)
(Bachchan Kumar/ HT)

No new Covid-19 deaths in Mumbai for first time in 11 months

Mumbai on Monday reported zero deaths due to Covid-19, its first such day since March 31, 2020, according to data from the state health department
By Swapnil Rawal and Mehul Thakkar, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON FEB 23, 2021 12:38 AM IST

Mumbai on Monday reported zero deaths due to Covid-19, its first such day since March 31, 2020, according to data from the state health department. Maharashtra added 5,210 fresh Covid-19 cases, taking its total to 2,106,094 and alarmingly, pushing its active case count to 53,113.

India’s financial capital reported its first Covid-19 death on March 17, 2020, six days after its first case. As of Monday, Mumbai has reported 11,446 deaths. Mumbai’s mortality rate went from around 6% in June 2020 to 4% in January 2021, followed by 3.58% in February 2021, which civic officials attribute to early treatment and detection. Mumbai has seen 319,889 Covid-19 cases, followed by 301,593 recoveries at a recovery rate of 94.28%. There are 5,986 active infections in the city.

Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner, said, “The mortality rate has gone down in the city as there is a proper system in place and also citizens have better awareness about the virus one year down the line. Due to better treatment, tracing and awareness among citizens, the mortality rate has gone down.”

Meanwhile, a day after Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray warned citizens to follow Covid-19 protocol or risk a lockdown, the health department and district authorities have already swung in action to tackle the increase in cases. Some districts such as Nagpur imposed stringent restrictions on the movement of people, including shutting markets, schools and colleges, among others, to break the chain of transmission, while not affecting daily economic activities.

The state added 18 fatalities due to Covid-19 on Monday to push the toll to 51,806. Of the 18 deaths reported, six occurred in the past 48 hours and nine in the past week. The remaining three deaths were from the period before last week. Mumbai topped in the state by recording 761 fresh cases on Monday, followed by Nagpur city (643), Amravati city (555) and Pune city (336). Maharashtra, which is witnessing a resurgence of cases, recorded over 6,000 infections daily for the past three days.

The active caseload in the state has shot up significantly in Akola, Amravati, Nagpur, Pune, Mumbai and Thane districts. State health department officials attributed the rise to multiple factors, including laxity in Covid-appropriate behaviour, colder weather, possible mutation of the virus in the Vidarbha region, local village body elections, and social programmes such as wedding and other events.

As per the data, Akola’s active cases have gone up by 145% between February 15 and 22. The active cases on February 15 were 809, which rose to 1,981 on Monday. Amravati district too saw a jump of almost 75% between the same period. The active cases in Amravati district were 3090 on February 15, which rose to 5,404 on Thursday.

State surveillance officer, Dr Pradeep Awate, said that besides faster transmission and cold weather that is conducive for increasing viral activity, the laxity and increasing movement of people could have lead to an increase of cases in the state. “There have been functions, get-togethers, weddings with 500-1000 attendees happening. In January we had elections of over 14,000 Gram Panchayats where the turnout was 80%. The movements of people have increased, coupled with lack of covid-appropriate behaviour, it has led to an increase.”

Mumbai reported a jump of 45.29% in its active caseload between February 15 and 22. The vast Thane district, which has five municipal corporations and a substantial rural belt, has seen an increase in active cases by 26.5% during the same period. Authorities said that cases have gone up due after local train services were allowed made available to the general public since February 1.

Kakani told reporters that so far there are no signs of a night curfew being implemented in Mumbai. However, public response to Thackeray’s appeal to the state to follow masking, sanitisation and physical distancing needs to be adhered to.

Kakani said that the BMC took stock of the preparedness in the city with laboratories, private hospitals, civic hospital, jumbo centres etc. “The availability of beds is at 75% now. We took stock of labs, jumbo facilities, private hospitals and have decided to maintain preparedness that was there in September 2020 [when Maharashtra reached its peak]. The laboratories have been directed to turn in reports within 24 hours. They must ensure proper contact details with pin code is mentioned so that tracing patient does not take more time,” Kakani said.

Nagpur district recorded an increase of active cases by nearly 62%. It had 4,429 active cases on February 15, which rose to 7,167 on Thursday. Nagpur city on Thursday reported 643 new cases, while its rural areas reported 130 fresh cases.

The rise in cases prompted the district administration to introduce stringent measures to get control the spread. Nitin Raut, guardian minister of the district, who took stock of the situation in the district, said that they are putting strict rules in the district instead of a lockdown.

Raut said, “Looking at the rising Covid cases, these measures are taken include shitting all weekly markets till March 7. Similarly, all schools, colleges and coaching classes will remain shut till March 7. All markets will remain closed on the weekends. Hotel and restaurants have permission to operate at 50% capacity but till 9 pm. All religious, social, and political too will not be allowed till March 7. Besides that, we have asked wedding venues, including marriage halls and open lawns, to remain shut between February 25 and March 7.”

He added that the Covid centres in the district have been directed to remain alert. He said that testing in the district has increased.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra is inching closure to the landmark of inoculating 1,000,000 beneficiaries. On Monday, the state inoculated additional 57,367 beneficiaries across 823 centres, including 21,185 healthcare workers (HCWs), who received their second dose of the vaccine. Overall, the state has vaccinated 983,830 beneficiaries. On Monday, 25,235 frontline workers (FLWs) were also vaccinated.

In Mumbai, 10,556 beneficiaries were inoculated on Monday. The BMC achieved 93% of the expected turnout. Of the ones vaccinated 6,706 were FLWs, 1,086 HCWs received their first dose, while 2,764 beneficiaries received their second shot on Monday, the BMC data revealed.

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