Commuters wearing facemasks as a protective measure against the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus wait for their transport at bus stop in Mumbai on June 3, 2021.
Commuters wearing facemasks as a protective measure against the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus wait for their transport at bus stop in Mumbai on June 3, 2021.
(Photo by AFP)

Mumbai: Though Mumbai has qualified to move to Level 1 of the phased unlocking measures in place, with a current positivity rate of 3.79 per cent and oxygen bed occupancy of 23.56 per cent as against the corresponding rates of 4.40 per cent and 27.12 per cent as on June 10, the city will continue to remain at Level 3, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said on Friday. This is in view of the possible third wave of the pandemic.

Also, Mumbai’s oxygen bed occupancy is higher than the state's average of 13.56 per cent. A total of 2,016 oxygen beds in Mumbai city are occupied, while 9,097 are currently vacant. Similarly, 951 ventilator beds are occupied, while 529 are currently not in use.

A senior BMC official told The Free Press Journal that for the time being, Mumbai would continue to remain at Level 3, as it is anticipated that a possible third wave could strike.

Under the Level 3 restrictions, both essential and non-essential shops are allowed to remain open until 4pm, but malls, theatres and multiplexes remain closed. Also, only essential services staff and government staff are permitted to travel on suburban local trains.

As per the government’s June 4 order, all districts where case positivity rates were five per cent or less and the occupancy of oxygen beds was below 25 per cent would fall under Level 1 of the phased unlocking measures in the state. Districts in this category can completely unlock and all activities can be resumed and all sectors, including public transport, cultural events, shops, restaurants, sports, theatres, malls, industries, private and government offices can open.

In its order dated June 17, the state government said that in all,16,570 oxygen beds were occupied in Maharashtra, a declining trend. Since this number is below 35,000, the state-level ‘oxygen trigger’ would not be in operation for the ensuing week.

According to the government, Kolhapur, Pune, Satara, Ratnagiri, Raigad and Sindhudurg districts had also improved their position in terms of the positivity rate and oxygen bed occupancy. While Kolhapur’s positivity rate is 13.77 per cent, Sindhudurg's oxygen bed occupancy is 55.20 per cent, as per figures shared by the Maharashtra disaster management department. Thane district’s oxygen bed occupancy is 10.74 per cent.

Last week, Kolhapur had a positivity rate of 15.85 per cent and an oxygen bed occupancy rate of 67.41 per cent - both the highest in the state at that time.

In terms of positivity rate, Raigad and Ratnagiri follow Kolhapur, at 12.77 per cent and 11.90 per cent respectively, it said, adding that Gondia had the lowest positivity rate, 0.27 per cent.

Pune’s positivity rate is now 9.88 per cent while oxygen bed occupancy is 10.90 per cent, while the corresponding figures for Nagpur are 1.25 per cent and 2.17 per cent, it added.

In terms of oxygen bed occupancy, Kolhapur is second to Sindhudurg with 54.78 per cent. Wardha has the lowest bed occupancy rate of 0.45 per cent, the data said.

With the ‘further decline’ in the number of occupied oxygen beds in the state, the disaster management department on Friday asked all the municipal corporations and district collectors to issue relaxations in their jurisdictions. The government orders said that municipal corporations and district collectorates were considered as two separate units for Covid management.

This would enable the commissioners and collectors to take stock of the situation and come up with fresh guidelines (in their respective areas), it said. “It will mean more relaxation in terms of opening of shops, services, running malls among others,” an official said.

On June 4, the state government had announced a five-level ‘unlock’ plan for the administrative units of the state, based on the case positivity rate and oxygen bed occupancy.

As per the notification, areas with the positivity rates of five per cent or less and oxygen bed occupancy of less than 25 per cent would be in the first level and could open up completely, whereas areas in the fifth category (positivity rates more than 20 per cent), only essential shops would remain open and office attendance would be capped at 15 per cent.

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Free Press Journal