Drones, heat maps: How civic officials are checking Covid-19 spread in Dharavi

On Thursday, Dharavi saw its highest spike in the number of Covid-19 positive patients, with 26 new cases.
Doctors and municipal staff attend to people of Dharavi in Mumbai at a Covid-19 testing drive, on Thursday.(Pratik Chorge/HT Photo)
Doctors and municipal staff attend to people of Dharavi in Mumbai at a Covid-19 testing drive, on Thursday.(Pratik Chorge/HT Photo)
Updated on Apr 17, 2020 09:53 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByHT Correspondent

The civic officials in Mumbai are using drones to keep an eye on the areas like Dharavi, which have seen spurt in number of Covid-19 cases in recent days.

Using these drones, the officials of BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) were able to disperse crowd thronging a market in the Dongri area last week, violating the countrywide lockdown begun on March 25.

The drone feed is beamed to giant a screen which is monitored aggressively by the officials.

These drones, along with re-oriented traffic cameras and heat maps, are also helping the police in enforcing the lockdown in these densely populated areas.

These drones are also used by the policemen in Mumbai to monitor containment zones, where Covid-19 cases have been detected and strict restrictions imposed to stop interaction of people from these areas with neighbourhood and other localities. Maharashtra has 297 active containment zones.

“We have given the policemen the necessary safety equipment and are using drones to monitor containment zones,” Pranaya Ashok, DCP (operations), told Hindustan Times.

The number of positive coronavirus cases in Dharavi have tripled in the past five days, from 28 cases on April 11 to 86 on April 16, while the death toll during the same period has also increased from four to nine, data from the state health department revealed.

On Thursday, Dharavi saw its highest spike in the number of coronavirus-positive patients, with 26 new cases. A 58-year-old man from Laxmi Chawl, who had been tested positive last week, also died on Thursday.

The first case in Dharavi was reported on April 1, following which there has been a rapid surge in the number of positive cases, which may soon pose a grim challenge for civic authorities. If the pattern continues, Dharavi could see around 100 cases in the next few days.

Mumbai, the city affected most by the spread of Covid-19 in the country, saw 177 more patients on Thursday, taking its tally past 2,000 to 2,073, and reported three deaths. The city’s death toll is now 117. The other four deaths were from Pune.

The Mumbai Police, meanwhile, has the maximum number of Covid-19 cases among all state police. Five more police personnel tested positive on Wednesday, taking the total figure to 15 from Mumbai. The state police has a total of 23 positive cases (seven officers and 16 constables).

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