Mumbai: BMC to scale up vigil in slum pockets as corona cases jump

COVID-19 cases are rapidly rising in Mumbai once again and the slum sprawl in the city once again becomes the focal point of the city administration. Even as the statistics point out that more cases are being reported from the high rises and non-slum societies, BMC seems to be in no mood to ignore congested slums and chawls.

Even as 90 per cent of new COVID-19 patients between January and February are from high-rises and only 10 per cent from slums, the BMC officials have decided to keep a close watch on the pandemic trends in the slum and prevent spread.

Dharavi, which was one of the deadliest hotspots of the pandemic last year, is the best example as it reported a fresh surge in the number of COVID- 19 cases. Active cases in Dharavi — Asia’s largest slum — increased seven-fold to 73 as of March 4 from just 10 cases on January 22. The scenario has further worsened as the number of active cases in Dharavi has now increased to 180 on March 22. For a couple of weeks now, Dharavi has been reporting anywhere between 30 to 40 cases almost every day, pointing out the extent of spread in the region.

"We have stepped up our old strategy of 4Ts tracing, tracking, testing and treatment to prevent spread in congestion. Alongside we have also resumed the maximum isolation strategy. However our main focus this time, remains vaccination. We have two vaccination centre in G (North) ward one in Dharavi and another in Mahim. We are trying to get as many beneficiaries as to get inoculated which will help us in bringing down the number of cases by arresting spread," said Kiran Dighavkar, Assistant Municipal Commissioner of G (north) ward (Dharavi, Mahim and Dadar).

Similarly, slums in other words such as Kurla, Vikhroli, Dahisar etc too have stepped up containment measures and officials are encouraging more and more beneficiaries to get vaccinated at the earliest. "We had never stopped awareness on cleanliness, hygiene and wearing masks in slum areas of Kurla and Sakinaka. However, now we are being even more cautious. It won't be any difficult for the infection to spread in congested slums and chawls. The population here uses common toilets, and small houses are a major factor that leads to spreading," said an official from L ward (Kurla).

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