Mumbai: While all eyes were glued on Dharavi, Kurla, Worli, Agripada and the congested Antop Hill, Andheri (East) has emerged as a shocker, for all those who failed to notice the sharp rise in the number of cases in the area. K (East) ward, which constitutes Andheri (E), Jogeshwari (E) and Vile Parle (E), has recorded a massive 209% rise in the number of cases in less than a month. On May 27, the number of cases reported in K east ward was 1875; the count jumped to 2402 on June 1. Gradually the number of cases started rising steadily and by Sunday, June 14, K East topped the list of worst affected wards across the city with a whopping 3924 positive novel coronavirus cases.
Despite having the highest number of active COVID-19 cases in Mumbai, at 2104, and 264 deaths as on June 14. The ward has overtaken the worst affected G (North) ward (Dharavi, Mahim & Dadar) and now ranks first not just in terms of cumulative cases but in the number of active cases. With a case growth rate of 3.9 % and a doubling rate of 16 days, the slums in this ward have rapidly become a hotbed of Covid19 cases In the initial weeks of the Coronavirus outbreak, the ward was not even in the top 10, but in May, it climbed up the ladder and by June 14 became the ward with the highest number of cases in Mumbai thus far. On May 27, the ward had 1,875 cases, which doubled by June 14, a doubling rate of 16 days. It is among the only wards to have crossed the 3,500-mark along with G North.
As on Sunday, G North had 3,779 cases with 1,312 active cases, while K East reached 3,924 cases and 2104 active cases. K East has a case growth rate of 3.9%. The ward has seen 264 deaths, while 1,658 people have recovered so far. Of the total number of cases, nearly 27 are people repatriated from other countries under the Vande Bharat Mission, while over 700 are essential service staffers.Areas in the ward which have reported the highest number of cases include Mograpada, Marol Pipeline, Indira Nagar, Meghwadi, Shiv Tekdi, Saraswati Chawl, Malpadongri, Kondiwita, Shastri Nagar and Hanuman Nagar.“Even when the lockdown was in force, the police was not able to implement it strictly. In Meghwadi area, Marol pipeline, Malpadongri, Gundavli etc there has been no containment as people made a mockery of lockdown and openly flouted physical distancing,” said Anant Nar, local Shiv Sena corporator and former Improvements Committee chairman.
“People residing in chawls and dense slum areas refuse and resist going to the institutional isolation centre and flout norms. They insist that they should be allowed home quarantine, which is not possible in slums," added Nar.The ward has 41 containment zones with a population of 4.5 lakh. It has 265 sealed buildings with a population of 1.89 lakh.The BMC, however, said the numbers are rising because of the increased surveys; it hs also attributed the sspike to people repatriated under Vande Bharat Mission who have been isolated in hotels located in K (East) Ward. "Almost every day we are getting passengers repatriated from foreign countries under 'Vande Bharat mission.' Of these people, 25% live in this ward. We had identified 26 hotels in our jurisdiction for quarantining these passengers for seven days after their arrival in Mumbai. After week-long isolation, these passengers are tested and then allowed to go. In many cases passengers test positive and then we have to test the hotel staff too," said Prashant Sapkale, Assistant Municipal Commissioner of K (East) ward.Most of the foreign travellers were quarantined in hotels located in K East ward around Andheri.
The Seven Hills Hospital, one of the very first dedicated Covid19 Hospital after Kasturba, is also located in this ward. This, according to the officials, is one of the factors responsible for the spike. Sapkale added, " If there are a higher number of cases, that's because of the increased number of testings. Another source of spread of the infection is the Marol Police camp. Unfortunately, at least 40 of cops on essential services residing in Marol Police camp were infected. They work in different containment zones across the city, commute to different places and finally come home, which is in K (East) ward.
As a major step towards containment of the spread, in some places, we have set up a permanent camp for fever survey." Meanwhile, R (North) ward (Dahisar) has recorded the highest growth rate in the number of cases across the city with 6.2 % and the doubling rate has also increased to 12 from 8 days. On June 7, the growth rate of Covid-19 cases in the ward was 5.4 per cent. The number has jumped to 928 as on June 15.
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