Hot spot Govandi shows signs of improvement says BMC
After Dharavi, Mumbai’s second largest slum belt Govandi-Mankhurd is showing show signs of improvement in the fight against Covid-19.
M-East ward, which includes slum pockets of Deonar, Govandi, Baiganwadi, Shivaji Nagar and Cheetah Camp and Deonar dumping ground, is spread across an area of 32.50sqkm. The total population of the ward is 8,06,433, of which 6,85,468 lives in slums. As of Thursday, the doubling rate of Covid-19 cases in these areas reached 68 days, compared to the city’s 41 days. The doubling rate is the amount of time required for the cases to double. The average daily infected cases reported in M-East ward have come down from 80-90 cases in May-end to 15-20 cases in the past one week, according to data from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). However, experts remain sceptical, claiming BMC has not released crucial data to determine if the situation on ground has improved.
In the second week of May, M-East had the highest number of Covid cases, Govandi being a hot spot. Almost 70% of the cases reported in M-East were from Govandi, mainly from Baiganwadi, Shivaji Nagar, Limouni Baug and Natvar Parek compound. The ward has now come down to the 13th position among the city’s 24 administrative wards. The total Covid cases in M-East stand at 3,154, of which 1,732 patients have been discharged.
The growth rate of cases in Govandi and Mankhurd has also come down to 1%, while the city’s average growth rate is 1.72%. Officials from the ward confirmed the number of daily cases started to decrease from the first week of June.
Sudhanshu Dwivedi, assistant municipal commissioner of M-East ward, said, “Earlier, if there were 70 cases in the ward, 50 were found in Govandi alone. Now, if there are 30 cases, less than five cases are from Govandi. Over 7, 000 households are screened everyday at the 15 health posts. At least 50-55 people are tested daily in the ward.”
Dwivedi explained that they formed 46 local leaders in all containment zones, calling them ‘containment observers’. “These observers tell us if anyone in their area needs immediate medical help, toilets are not sanitised or social distancing is not followed. This helped us tackle the situation. We also focused on quarantining more people from slums who use community toilets,” he said. The ward has 46 containment zones and over 70 sealed buildings.
Arun Kumar, CEO of NGO Apnalaya which works with communities in Shivajinagar slum clusters of Govandi, said, “There are a couple of things we need to determine if the situation has improved. Firstly, have we increased the number of testings in wards like M-East whose more than 50% population lives in slums? Is there a behavioural change among residents towards social distancing norms? BMC needs to release data based on these points in order to back their claims of improvement.” Kumar, however, agreed that the number of beds, ventilators and ICU beds have increased as per BMC’s data.
The other hot spots of Dharavi and Worli, too, have shown improvement. The doubling rate in G-North (Dharavi) and G-South (Worli) is 57 days. The growth rate of cases in these two wards is 1.2%. While Worli witnessed a decline in numbers from mid-May, the numbers in Dharavi started plunging from June 1. As of Thursday, the total cases reported in G-North is 4,967 and G-South is 3,758. Dharavi reported 19 new cases on Thursday, taking the total to 2,301.
On Thursday, Mumbai reported 1,554 Covid-19 cases, bringing the total to 80,699. New 58 deaths brought the toll to 4,689. Of the 58 deaths, four were below 40 years of age, 34 above 60 years, and 19 patients between 40 and 60 years.
As per BMC’s data, 5, 903 patients recovered and were discharged on Thursday, the highest so far.
A total of 50,694 patients have been treated and discharged by now. The recovery rate in Mumbai has now gone up to 63%. The number of Covid tests conducted till Wednesday is 3.39 lakh. On Wednesday, 6,044 tests were conducted in Mumbai, highest in a single day so far.
Fifteen days after CM Uddhav Thackeray e-inaugurated a 1,000-bed hospital at Bandra-Kurla Complex, Maharashtra Navanirman Sena slammed the authorities, alleging the hospital does not have adequate staff or ICU beds as promised.
MNS leader Akhil Chitre said, “When I called up the Covid facility, I was told that the ICU facility is not ready yet and there is shortage of staff. Why is the state lying to the common public?”
Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner of Health, said, “The phase 1 hospital at BKC has 40% beds vacant. We have 174 ICU beds vacant across Mumbai. The scaling up of beds has been planned. The facilities are ready, but what will we do by starting phase 2, when phase 1 of the Covid facility is still vacant?”