With many people throwing caution to the wind and with Navratri round the corner, BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) fears there will be a significant rise in cases next month. On an average,Mumbai is witnessing 2,000 cases on a daily basis. The figure will increase to 2.21 lakh by the next weekend.
Ward officers have blamed the public for ignoring safety measures. BMC claims the ramped up testing is the primary reason for the spike. However, experts blame the relaxation of lockdown norms, violation of safety guidelines and the recent Ganeshotsav festival behind the rise in cases.
As per the officials, BMC has conducted over 10,50,000 tests, including rapid antigen and RT-PCR in the city. Almost 30 lakh people who were in contact with infected patients have been traced. The daily testing has been pushed from 5,000 in August to 12,000 in September. This has increased the daily reporting of cases without any rise in positivity rate.
“I would like to reassure citizens that the spike in cases cannot be termed as a second wave. We increased testing in September from 7,000 to 9,000 daily. Now, we are conducting around 15,000 or even more tests. If we bring down the number of tests, we might again have lesser cases,” said Iqbal Singh Chahal, municipal commissioner, BMC, at Hospital Tech 2020, a virtual event organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
As per BMC, 60 per cent of the new cases are coming from high-rises. Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner, BMC said there are many factors due to which cases are rising in Mumbai. Aggressive testing, lockdown relaxation and festivals are the main reasons. “The continuous surge in daily cases is due to an increase in the number of tests. Our positivity rate has reduced to 18.2 per cent from 21 per cent in July. The migrant workers who had gone back to their hometown have come back for work, due to which we can see the rise in cases,” he said.
Health experts said that everyone is always ready to criticise the government and BMC. But the onus is on citizens to follow protocols and guidelines to protect themselves from the virus. “People are bored of staying at home. They have turned careless. People aren’t wearing masks or following social distancing, which can surge the cases further with Navaratri next month,” said Dr Gautam Bhansali, consultant physician at Bombay Hospital and in charge of COVID-19 private hospitals.