Coronavirus in Mumbai: As cases rise, BMC faces a tough challenge with limited facilities for COVID-19 treatment
BL Soni

Mumbai: N ward, comprising Ghatkopar West and East, Pant Nagar and parts of Vikhroli, has been seeing a steady rise in the number of corona cases. The Brihanumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) faces a tough challenge here, as there are several slum pockets in the ward where people live cheek-by-jowl, and social distancing is a tough ask.

The ward only has one civic hospital, Rajawadi, with limited beds for corona patients and this dire situation is compounded by a lack of other medical facilities - such as dialysis facilities, patients complain. This forces people to turn to private hospitals, which is again, an expensive proposition for many and entirely unaffordable for the poor.

"The number of cases are steadily increasing due to the hospital's severely limited resources. Also, the BMC has failed to provide sufficient space for quarantine centres, as a result of which many corona-positive remain home, as affordability-wise, private hospitals are beyond their reach and the the BMC waits too long to come and get them, doing so as and when there is space to accommodate them," explains Bindu Trivedi, the Bharatiya Janata Party corporator from ward 130.

"On Wednesday alone, 155 patients were tested, of whom several tested positive and other reports are awaited. The reason for such an increase in numbers in a single day is the lack of beds in the hospital and the lack of a quarantine centre in the ward," Trivedi says.

Like in other wards, in this ward too, there are around 2000-2,500 migrant workers desperate to go back home. Trivedi has set up a community centre, where labourers and others can get a free check-up to obtain fitness certificates, which will enable them to travel. At any given time, there are eight authorised doctors present, who screen people and certify them for no cost. This service was started on Monday and on the first day alone, 425 people came forward to avail of this facility. The camp was held with emphasis on crowd control and social distancing. Those waiting in line were offered food and water. 

Another N-ward corporator says, the number of cases is rising not only because of the laxity of authorities but also because of people not following guidelines.

"There is an increase in the number of corona patients in our ward because when people catch a cold or have cough, they get themselves checked and the results are positive for corona, regardless of whether it is a mild or moderate or full-blown case. This is the main reason for the increase. But after people test positive, they also recover faster and get discharged," said Ashwini Deepak Hande, the Shiv Sena corporator from ward 128.

Total positive cases          165

Total discharged.                         47

Total dead.                                5

Number of containment zones   94

High-risk contacts.                       28

Total population         15,75,686

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