Govandi locals allege lapses by civic body in isolating Covid-19 patients
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has identified Govandi as a growing hotspot for Covid-19 cases, similar to Dharavi. The densely populated slum pockets in M east ward (Govandi-Mankhurd) have reported a total of 410 positive cases and 50 people have died after battling the virus so far.
There have also been several lapses in the civic body’s efforts to contain the virus in the area. One such case is of a 45-year-old woman who was symptomatic but was not shifted to an isolation facility for three days despite testing positive for Covid-19 on April 30. The woman could reportedly not be moved due to the unavailability of beds and was instead asked to remain at home.
The 45-year-old lives in Panchsheel chawl near Lumbini Baug, a congested slum pocket in Govandi. When she was finally shifted to a hospital on May 3, her husband, who is a heart patient, also tested positive.
Shrushti Salve, a resident of Panchsheel chawl, said, “Even the husband of the 45-year-old has not been shifted to an isolation facility because allegedly there are no beds available. The ward office did the same when the wife tested positive. We ensured that social distance is maintained but we have common toilets and the risk factors cannot be ignored.
BJP leader and former MP from the area Kirit Somaiya tweeted on Monday, “Shivaji Nagar Govandi is at Corona Fire. 35 Citizens at Limboni Baug Camp, Two Police Constables and 12 BMC Health Staff found Corona Positive. Two civic health center closed down. One dozen Positive Patients not getting admission in Hospitals.”
The M East ward, which includes slum pockets of Deonar, Govandi, Bainganwadi, Shivaji Nagar, and Cheetah Camp along with the Deonar dumping ground, has a population density of 36,923 per sqkm, more than the city’s average density of 32,303 per sqkm.
Arun Kumar, CEO of the NGO Apnalaya, said, “What we need is a granular strategy which is basically a different strategy for different areas. There are only two hospitals here that are overburdened with Covid-19 cases to an extent where they had to shut the out-patient departments (OPDs). Patients are being turned away in a ward that has had a health crisis for years.”