People working in nearby offices at Ballard Pier wear face shields and masks as a precaution against the coronavirus infection
People working in nearby offices at Ballard Pier wear face shields and masks as a precaution against the coronavirus infection
Pic by BL Soni

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has intensified containment measures in D ward (Nepean Sea Road, Malabar Hill, Walkeshwar) after the number of new Covid-19 cases in D ward soared rapidly. Most of the cases are from high rises. The D ward includes Breach Candy, Nepean Sea Road, Cumballa Hill, Malabar Hill, Gamdevi , Walkeshwar and Grant Road.

BMC officials have warned citizens that if anybody is found violating rules or venturing out without a mask, they will be facing police action. Officials have even threatened to file police complaints against those not wearing a mask in public places.

The move comes after the ward reported an average of 50 to 60 new cases every day in August, from an average of around 40 new cases in July.

The BMC is now sealing floors where one or two Covid-19 cases have been reported and entire buildings if there are more than three cases. Officials said that over the past few days, cases of entire families testing positive have been reported in many high rises.

Prashant Gaikwad, assistant municipal commissioner, D Ward, said, “Almost 80 per cent of new cases are from high rises. We hardly have any cases from slums and congested chawls. However, like in March and early April, the number of cases are now increasing in high rises. Most people infected in high rises are domestic workers, drivers and other helpers. They are infecting the residents as residents are being careless.”

A senior civic official said, "We will be very stringent about people not wearing masks and venturing out carelessly. Besides social distancing , societies , shops following containment measures seriously will be monitored closely especially in areas like Nepean Sea Road, Breach Candy, Walkeshwar, Malabar Hill. Full time staff should not be allowed by their employers to sleep and sit in a common areas/open garage etc in the building with other employees. If people flout this and it comes to the notice of the ward office, we will ask local police to intervene and speak to such residents.”

Gaikwad added, “Domestic workers and drivers usually sit together and end up infecting each other. Many domestic workers live in garages or designated quarters in the buildings. If one gets infected, the disease spreads to others and eventually to the buildings’ residents. This circle needs to be broken down to break the chain.”

According to BMC data, D ward had 7096 cumulative cases, 1185 active cases and 262 deaths as of Friday, September 11. D ward’s growth rate of covid 19 cases is 1.52 per cent, which is the fifth highest among Mumbai’s 24 wards . D ward is also among four civic wards where the doubling rate is less than 50 days. While the city’s cases double once every 58 days, D ward’s cases double every 46 days.

Gaikwad said, "In the last week till September 10, we had four days where in the ward reported 100 new cases each day, meanwhile initial three days of the week 60-65 cases were reported. We are left with no option but to take help of police against people not wearing masks as people don't even want to pay fine if caught not wearing face mask."

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