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

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Published on Aug 30, 2020 02:00 AM IST
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ByMehul R Thakkar

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 past 40 to 60 days. Out of the total 4,680 positive cases in Dadar and Mahim, more than 70% have been reported after relaxations in lockdown, starting June 3.

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 1, 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.”

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 2,753, on Saturday after recording eight new cases. Of these 2,400 patients have been discharged after recovery.

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.

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.

Meanwhile on Saturday, Mumbai recorded 1,432 cases and 31 deaths, taking the city’s case tally to 143,389 and toll to 7,596. The fatality rate is 5.29%, while the recovery rate stands at 80.55%, with 115,500 patients in the city having been discharged after recovery. The number of active cases stands at 19,971.

Mumbai’s total test figures have reached 7.53 lakh with an overall positivity rate of 18.84%, after 9,984 Covid-19 tests were conducted on Friday.

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