Covid-19 curve flattening in Dharavi, rising in neighbouring Dadar and Mahim

Authorities also blame ‘irresponsible’ behaviour by residents for the spike in the number of Covid cases in the area.
Dadar market saw a huge crowd as people jostled to make purchases for Ganeshotsav celebrations.(Anshuman Poyrekar/HT Photo)
Dadar market saw a huge crowd as people jostled to make purchases for Ganeshotsav celebrations.(Anshuman Poyrekar/HT Photo)
Updated on Aug 29, 2020 08:45 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, Mumbai | ByMehul R Thakkar | Edited by Abhinav Sahay

While the Covid-19 curve has started to flatten in Dharavi, India’s largest slum cluster, the number of Covid-19 cases have doubled in neighbouring Mahim and Dadar areas in the last 40 to 60 days. Out of the total 4,680 positive cases in Dadar and Mahim area, more than 70 per cent have been reported after relaxations in lockdown, starting June 03, 2020. Owing to this, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) says it is tracing and testing “maximum people behind every case from Dadar and Mahim area, on the lines of Dharavi.”

For the past few days, Covid-19 cases in Dharavi are being reported in single digits daily, with a few exceptions. The BMC has maintained that while the cases are coming down, four most densely populated pockets inside Dharavi - the Matunga Labour Camp, Kumbharwada, Kala Killa, and Koliwada continue to be on the corporation’s watch-list. The BMC, starting September 01, is also going to scale down Covid-19 containment facilities in Dharavi owing to the flattening of the curve. However, its neighbouring areas like Dadar and Mahim, now, remain a concern for the BMC.

Kiran Dighavkar, assistant municipal commissioner of BMC’s G North Ward said, “There are many factors behind cases increasing in Dadar and Mahim, and we are following the Dharavi model of testing and tracing maximum residents from Dadar and Mahim. We have also set up free testing camps, due to which we are detecting maximum cases. We have to understand that Dadar traditionally has been a commercial hub too, and post June 3, we have witnessed an increase in reporting of cases.”

Dighavkar added, “After relaxations were given in lockdown measures, more and more cases are being reported. Maximum cases that we are detecting are of those who are asymptomatic and most are from high-rises. We have to wait and watch for now and continue testing and tracing the maximum number of people for the cases to come under control. At the same time, citizens have to be responsible.”

Also Read: Treated 14,800 Covid-19 patients in home isolation since July 9, claims Mumbai civic corporation

Dadar also came into focus last week when a large number of residents had gathered in the local market ahead of Ganeshotsav by flouting all social distancing norms.

In terms of numbers, on June 3, 2020, the first day of relaxations given by the state government under Mission Begin Again, Dharavi had 1,889 cases that have increased to 2,745 as of Friday.

In the case of Dadar, the cases went up from 374 to 2,489 in the same period and in Mahim, Covid cases have reached 2,192 from 606 on June 3.

The number of cases have doubled in Dadar in the last around 45 days from 1,130 on July 11 to 2,489 now. Similarly, in Mahim, cases have reached 2,192 from 1,092 on June 28. The G North Ward, under which Dharavi, Dadar and Mahim fall, has a total of 7,426 cases as of Friday, of which, 6,208 cases have recovered and 787 cases are active. Maximum active cases are from Dadar (400) and Mahim (294) while Dharavi (93) has the lowest number of active cases.

Also Read: Mumbai civic body asks private hospitals to refer critical patients to its Covid-19 facilities

Shiv Sena corporator from Dadar, Vishakha Raut said, “We controlled cases in slums and chawls by having stricter containment measures, but the same is not the case in Dadar. We have an educated and literate population here and it is expected that they will act more responsibly. However, it is a fact that after relaxations in the lockdown norms, the cases have increased due to an increase in mingling of residents socially, but the administration is also trying to trace maximum cases.”

Raut claimed that mandatory testing for travel led to detection of several cases among those who wanted to go to their homes in Konkan during Ganeshotsav. He also put the onus on citizens for responsible behavior.

“In the end, citizens have to be more responsible when they are out. I see people not following social distancing norms, not wearing masks even in areas like Shivaji Park. This all needs to stop, and we will need to act with more responsibility,” Raut added.

Mortality rate for the GN Ward has gone down in the last 50 days. According to BMC’s data, there were 379 deaths in the ward on July 04, a mortality rate of 10.61%, which has gone down to 7.33% with 492 deaths, as of Friday. The GN Ward also has around 13 containment zones and 355 sealed buildings.

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