In the past week, the active case count in five municipal wards of the western suburbs has increased by 25 per cent. Last year, when the COVID-19 pandemic was at its peak, these wards -R Central (Borivali), K West (Andheri West, Juhu and Versova), R South (Kandivli), P North (Malad), and K east (Andheri East and Jogeshwari)- emerged as the hotspots in Mumbai.
As per the latest BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) data, these five wards constitute approximately 32 per cent of the total active cases in Mumbai. Presently, Mumbai has 9,690 active cases, of which 3,126 cases are from the mentioned wards. Earlier, on February 22, there were 2,387 active cases in these wards.
Senior civic health officials said that more than 95 per cent of the cases in these wards are being reported from high rises. Officials also stated that most of the new cases were detected in patients who have been socialising in the past month. Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner, BMC, took a review of the COVID-19 situation in these wards earlier on Saturday. “It's too early to say whether these wards have become a hotspot. The number of cases is scattered and there is no pattern as such,” Kakani told the Free Press Journal.
He has also directed officers to closely monitor banquet halls and open spaces in their wards to ensure COVID-19 protocols aren't flouted. “Most of the cases are reported from high-rises where citizens recently participated in social gatherings,” Kakani added.
Bhagyashree Kapse, assistant municipal commissioner and in-charge of RC ward said, there are 53 marriage halls and 12 lawns in her ward which are presently being monitored by civic officials. “We are monitoring CCTV cameras and checking the video footage daily to check that not more than 50 guests are at the venues,” Kapse said. She also mentioned that, in order to curb the spread of the virus in her ward, officials are aggressively sealing floors in the high-rises. “After we seal a building, our war room stays in touch with the office bearers to ensure that nobody is roaming around the premises. If anybody flouts the rules, we take immediate action,” Kapse added.
Local BMC ward officials have also started sending letters to the management bodies of housing societies, urging them to control the entry and exit of visitors at the premises.
Dhawal Shah, co-founder and spokesperson of Lokhandwala-Oshiwara Citizen's Association (LOCA), said amid the surge in a number of cases, residents in high-rises have started to control the entry and exit of the visitors in the building. “Many of the buildings have become overly cautious in the past few weeks and have prohibited the entry of courier boys and food delivery agents. We are coordinating with the BMC closely and keeping a watch so that nobody flouts the protocols,” Shah told the Free Press Journal.