With parts of the suburban belt of north Mumbai becoming the new hotspots of COVID-19, former hotspots have become examples of the city's success in containing the spread of the virus.
H east (E) ward was once a COVID-19 hotspot, but presently, has become the ward with the lowest growth rate. The ward covers the eastern side of Bandra, Santacruz and Khar and mainly comprises slum pockets.
This ward has 384 active cases and a total of 3,978 cases have been reported from this ward so far. HE has a growth rate of 0.5 per cent, which is the lowest in the city, and a doubling rate of 139 days, which is the highest in the city.
During the initial days of the outbreak, the ward reported nearly 90 cases. Now, the average daily cases reported from this ward is 20. Also, of all the cases reported from HE ward, only ten per cent are active cases. Bandra east Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) Zeeshan Siddique, who was instrumental in the fight against the pandemic alongside the frontline workers, stated it was due to aggressive testing and rapid containment measures taken by the administration. "We had arranged for aggressive testing and fever camps. We did as much testing as we could. This helped us identify the areas and places that were heavily affected. Following which, we applied stringent containment measures in those areas," Siddique told the Free Press Journal.
Siddique was instrumental in battling the virus in the slum areas. The congested localities of Bharatnagar and Behrampada have a huge population density, which the MLA admitted was a challenge to control in the first place. "Initially, everyone was screened and those with symptoms were immediately taken to the isolation wards" Siddique added.
He, however, maintained that in the past few months, the awareness of those living in the slum areas has increased readily and many of them approach doctors even if they have cough and cold for a day.
"Those with the mildest symptoms approach the health officers. Many residents of Behrampada have voluntarily gone to private labs and hospitals and have got themselves tested," the MLA said.
A senior BMC official informed FPJ that, due to comparatively less number of high rises in this area, the virus didn’t spread at a drastic rate. "It mainly comprises slum pockets and the commercial areas of Bandra Kurla Complex. Thus, the number of high rises or residential colonies is comparatively lower. The residential colonies of Santa Cruz, Khar and Teacher's Colony were sealed and strict measures were taken by the police," stated the official.
"The Mumbai Police has been instrumental in the battle. They used drones and maintained strict surveillance in the containment zones," the official added.