Representational Image
Representational Image
Bhushan Koyande

There was further cause for worry for civic authorities trying to contain the spread of the COVID-19 infection in the heaving slums of Dharavi, as two new more cases were reported in Dharavi on Saturday.

A 30- year old female resident of Dr Baliga Nagar, with no recent travel history, has tested positive. The first coronavirus case in Dharavi was reported from the same area.

While the patient’s building is already in a containment zone, her close contacts over the past 15 days are being traced. In a matter of grave concern for the civic body, another 48-year-old man also tested positive in Mukund Nagar, a dense slum pocket in Dharavi. He has been admitted to Sion Hospital and his contact tracing is in process.

The 48-year-old victim has a history of hypertension and diabetes, making his case sensitive. He is currently under observation. All high-risk contacts of the patient will be tested, and symptomatic patients from the slum area will be shifted to the newly constructed makeshift quarantine centre set up at Rajiv Gandhi Sports complex in Dharavi.

Meanwhile, the close contacts of a 56-year old patient from Dharavi who succumbed to coronavirus earlier -- including his wife, four daughters, and two sons – tested negative on Saturday.

However, after the 30-year old woman in the same residential society tested positive on Saturday, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has ramped up its precautionary measures. A health camp has been set up at Baliga Nagar.

The contact tracing exercise for the 56-year-old Dharavi resident who died on April 1 has led the BMC and the Mumbai Police to a cluster of 12 people belonging to the Tablighi Jamaat.

The Shahu Nagar police were helping civic officials retrace the footprints of the deceased. During the probe, the police received credible information that some people belonging to the Tablighi Jamaat had stayed at a flat owned by the deceased in Dharavi.

As the police are still tracing the 12 people from the Tablighi Jamaat, the BMC is worried that more positive cases might emerge from the locality. While nine buildings with 2,500 residents in Dr Baliga Nagar was already sealed after the first case emerged, the Mukund Nagar slum in Dharavi was sealed on Saturday, and spraying of disinfectant will be carried out on Sunday.

"We have identified 12 high-risk or close contacts of the woman who tested positive in Baliga Nagar. So far, there has been no connection between the first case in the area and this woman; just that she lives in the building next to where the 56-year-old who died lived. Samples of all her high-risk contacts have been sent for lab testing and the locality has already been sealed. The case in Mukund Nagar is worrisome as it has emerged in a dense slum, so tracing contacts is a tough a job. Nevertheless, we have quarantined his family and his other close contacts we have found," said Kiran Dighavkar, Assistant Municipal Commissioner of G (North) ward.

BMC steps up, to conduct maximum checks in Dharavi After four positive coronavirus cases have emerged in Dharavi, the G (North) ward will be organising health camps across the area to check as many symptomatic people as soon as possible, to prevent any further spread of the infection.

“Dharavi has become a high tension area after the Tablighi Jamaat link, and the fact that it has a maximum slum population, making it a hotbed of infection. People in this area are more prone to catching the infection as, in the majority of areas here, social distancing is just impossible. We are still trying our best to contain the spread. Hence we have decided to organise health camps," said Dighavkar.

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