Government staff sealing Ksheer Sagar area.
Government staff sealing Ksheer Sagar area.

To clamp down on the rising number of Covid-19 cases, most of which seem to be emerging from residential buildings and high-rises, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has sealed 947 floors in such spaces in just ten days.

As per the BMC data, there were 2,016 active sealed floors on March 1 in Mumbai, which stood at 2,957 as on March 11.

The K west ward (Andheri west, Juhu and Versova) has 533 active sealed floors, the highest of all the 24 municipal wards, followed by P north (Malad), which has 328 sealed floors and K east (Andheri east), which has 327 sealed floors. These three wards constitute 40 per cent of the active total sealed floors across Mumbai.

The F north ward (Matunga, Sion and Antop Hill) is the only municipal ward which has zero buildings with sealed floors, while G south (Worli, Prabhadevi) has only two active sealed floors and H east (Bandra east, Kalanagar, Santacruz east) has only four active sealed floors.

Additional Municipal Commissioner (Health) Suresh Kakani said, currently, more than 90 per cent of the cases were in residential buildings.

“In most buildings in Mumbai, there are two or three cases at the maximum, there is no definite pattern. Which is why the number of sealed floors is more than the number of entire sealed buildings,” Kakani told The Free Press Journal.

“More than 90 per cent of the fresh cases either have a travel history or have attended gatherings or functions in the past 15 days,” he added.

Meanwhile, there are only 214 buildings in Mumbai that are entirely sealed. As per the BMC rules, a building will be entirely sealed only if there are more than five cases. Alongside this, 30 slum areas have been marked as active containment zones in the city.

Civic officials also maintained that presently, the infection has spread in western suburbs, which is why both the active case tally and the number of sealed buildings, floors and containment zones are lower in the island city.

“The slum population in western suburbs is comparatively lower than that in eastern suburbs and the island city, maybe this is the reason why fewer cases are being reported from slum areas,” the official said.

In some wards like K west and east, the BMC has written to the office bearers of residential buildings to temporarily suspend the usage of swimming pools and community halls inside the buildings.

“This is one of the largest wards and if we see the demography, we could say that the numbers have not been very high. We are working jointly with the people and making them understand that the virus is still there,” said Assistant Municipal Commissioner and in-charge of K east ward Prashant Sapkale

“We continue to take mask action aggressively and have started to isolate as many high-risk contacts as we can,” he added.

“The point is, there is no lockdown yet, so cases can’t just go down because people will go out and we just can’t stop them,” said an official of the K west ward.

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Free Press Journal