Mumbai: BMC officials swing into action after spike in cases in city

Rise in the number of coronavirus cases has kept the ward officials up on heels. From visiting crowded places to sensitising housing society office bearers and even penalising those found violating COVID-19 norms, civic officials are leaving no stone unturned to keep coronavirus at bay.

Given the steady spike in the number of new COVID-19 cases reported daily in the city, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has turned its focus to four of the city's 24 administrative wards. Areas that have come under the civic radar are Borivali, Andheri east, Andheri west and Mulund, where the spike has been noticed, senior civic officials have said.

Apart from M West ward (Govandi, Chembur), where the ward officer has stepped up the containment measures to curb the spread, the BMC is also focusing on R Central ward (Borivli, Charkop), K East ward (Andheri East, Vile Parle), K West (Andheri West, Juhu, Versova) and T ward (Mulund).

According to senior civic officials, the number of cases reported in these four areas is rising and they do not want to take any chances but take immediate action to arrest the spread. Three of these four areas on civic body's radar have already been COVID hotspot for the longest time when the pandemic was at its peak.

Kishore Gandhi, Assistant Municipal commissioner of T ward said, "We have started going lenient on many things as the number of cases declined. However, citizens do not take COVID norms seriously. We have started stepping up the containment measures. Housing societies where cases are detected we personally meet the office bearers of the society and sensitise them and guide them on what should be done on their part. Our officials are regularly visiting places which get crowded. We are warning shops that are not following crowd controlling norms."

Gandhi added, "We are getting 30-35 cases daily, however none of them are in clusters but scattered. Almost all the cases are in non-slum areas. Now that people have started moving out, getting tested more so cases are coming to light."

Parag Masurkar, Deputy Municipal Commissioner, under whose jurisdiction both the K East and K West wards fall, said that the civic body will be monitoring the rise in cases for the next one week, following which they will take a call. "There is no spike only the number of cases have risen by a certain percentage and we can control it from here, we are well equipped to handle these cases with all the facilities and things are not as bad as the first time," Masurkar told FPJ.

He added, "In the meantime, we will be enforcing stricter actions against those who are not covering their faces at public spaces."

Prashant Sapkale, assistant municipal commissioner of K east ward stated that despite being one of the largest wards, the rise in number of cases has not been very high. Sapkale also maintained in order to curb the spread, the number of BMC marshals in his ward has been increased.

"We are also keeping a close watch in banquet halls, restaurants and public places now that the wedding season is there we have told the hall owners to maintain the COVID-19 protocols strictly," Sapkale added.

"Earlier we used to tell the High Risk Contacts (HRCs) to get themselves tested, however many of them would not do that, now we don't want to take any risk so we are going door to door for testing them," said a civic health official of K west ward.

"Also the K West ward has a large number of residential buildings, we are working closely with the office bearers of these buildings like we used to do earlier when the pandemic was at peak," he added.

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