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City’s Covid growth rate 6.6%, but five areas see 10% rise daily

By Mehul R Thakkar, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON MAY 27, 2020 11:38 PM IST

While the growth rate of Covid-19 is 6.6% in the city on an average, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has identified five neighbourhoods — Ghatkopar, Mulund, Bhandup, Vikhroli, Goregaon and Kandivli — where the daily growth rate is 10% or more as of May 22.

BMC’s weekly data shows hotspots like Dharavi, Worli, Byculla, Mazgaon, Kurla, Bandra (East) are showing a slower growth rate (4%-7%). Areas with growth rates higher than 8% are termed high-risk, BMC officials said.

High-risk areas include P (North) ward (Malad) where the growth rate is 11.9%; P (South) ward (Goregaon), where the growth rate is 10.9%; R (Central) ward (Borivli) where the growth rate is 8.9%; and R (South) (Kandivli) where the growth rate is 9.4%.

In the eastern suburbs, N ward (Ghatkopar) has the highest growth rate (13.7%) followed by T ward (Mulund, 11.9%). F (South) Ward in central Mumbai (Parel, Lalbaug, Sewri) has a growth rate of 8.2%.

When asked about the high growth rate in Borivli and Kandivli, deputy municipal commissioner Vishwas Shankarwar said, “We have a higher growth rate than others also because our cases are fewer. Our increase is reflected faster in terms of percentage owing to the smaller number when compared to areas with more cases. However, we are adopting all measures to contain the spread, especially in slums, by rigorous contact tracing.”

Some corporators have recommended sealing slums. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) corporator from Goregaon, Sandeep Patel said, “No matter how much we try, the slums will remain a challenge. I feel all the slums should be sealed, irrespective of there being cases or not.” BJP Corporator Nehal Shah said, “They [BMC] should have sealed all slums in the beginning and should have tested for cases within the area.”

Explaining Ghatkopar’s high growth rate of 13.7%, assistant municipal commissioner of N ward, Ajitkumar Ambi said, “There were several people who were getting tested by private laboratories without showing any symptoms. Due to this, the [number of] cases went up. We have to do focused testing now and cannot test everyone, considering the testing guidelines expected to be followed. The growth rate has come down compared to last week. Also, in government staff quarters, people are working and stepping out. Hence the chances of getting the virus increase. It is not that cases are coming only from slums, but also [residential] societies and high-rises.”

Kishore Gandhi, assistant municipal commissioner of T ward, said citizens observing lockdown guidelines had brought Covid-19’s growth rate down in his area. “Our growth rate was 11% on May 22, but it has now come down to 8%. We have contained the spread in the slums by quarantining maximum possible high-risk contacts. However, the numbers now are increasing and we are getting cases from non-slum areas, from high-rises. There is no strategy but to implement the knockdown efficiently,” said Gandhi.

Public health consultant Dr Sanjay Pattiwar said, “Containing virus in densely-populated areas like slums is a very difficult task, but the only thing that will help is to institutionally quarantine a maximum number of citizens from these areas. We cannot have movement in Mumbai like earlier until a vaccine is available. However, we can classify who can go out until then.”

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