Image for representation purpose.
Image for representation purpose.

Mumbai: A day after reports on 70 Covid-19 suspects missing from P (North) ward (Malad) came to light, the BrihanMumbai Municipal corporation Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal has clarified that patients are not missing. Chahal on Wednesday told the Free Press Journal that 39 of these 70 people have been traced to their respective native places.

There had been no update about the health of these 70 persons for the last three months as these people were untraceable by the civic body.

BMC chief has now directed all zonal deputy municipal commissioners to sought cybercrime department's help to trace coronavirus patients in all wards, who are untraceable and their health updates after testing positive are pending for months.

All these 70 coronavirus patients had given addresses in Malad in the civic records and are missing for the last three months. When BMC reached their homes, it found that some of the houses were locked, some had given the wrong addresses while the rest had switched off their phones.

"These 70 people are not missing. When the ward officials contacted them, they were unreachable. Hence, have initiated an exercise to trace these people just to record their recent health updates," Chahal said.

He added, "Of these 70, we have managed to trace 39. Our officials spoke to them, they are fine at their respective native places in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar."

As per the protocol, once a person is tested positive, they have to get tested again after five days, many under home quarantine after testing negative post fifth day do not bother to inform the local BMC office health posts. Chahal said, "On my visit to Malad ward office on June 22, as usual, I asked for updates on active patients. While going through the data I found that outcome section for 70 patients recorded three months ago was empty. I was told that all these people are untraceable."

Taking a lesson from how he managed to traced people from Tablighi Jamat in April when he was the principal secretary of state urban development department, Chahal instructed the ward officials to trace these people with the help of cybercrime police. "It is very important for us to trace these people, take get their recent health updates and record them in our data. These people are not missing, they were migrants who returned to their home town as soon as they got an opportunity. We are now tracing the others and I am sure will get their updates too very soon."

As on June 24, P (North) had become fourth worst affected ward in the city with total 3870 Covid-19 cases. Of these 3870, total 2445 cases are still active while 1327 people have been cured and discharged. The ward has recorded a growth rate of 3 per cent and doubling rate of 24 days this week.

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