Mumbai: Here's some sparkling news to brighten your festive celebration. A fortnight after Diwali, the public is likely to be allowed to travel on local trains provided there hasn’t been a significant rise in cases. Civic officials said they will be closely monitoring the cases in the weeks following the festival and accordingly, a decision on resuming suburban services for all commuters will be taken. However, if there is a spike in the daily cases reported in the city, full-scale resumption of services will be postponed.
Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani said the virus has a 14-day cycle and this period will be crucial to determine if there is a surge in Covid cases post-Diwali. “The state government will take a final call on fully resuming local trains. Inputs based on observations in this regard will be given to the state by all civic bodies of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region,” he said.
Last month, the state government had written to the general managers of both the zonal railways and had proposed three time-slots during the day for general commuters, and two time-slots for essential services staff. The government had also sought a ladies' special train every hour.
For the last two weeks, corona cases in the city have seen a downward trend, with as low as 535 cases being reported in a day. With Diwali falling on November 14, the civic body is taking various measures to avoid a surge in cases, as had happened following Ganeshotsav in September.
Dr Kedar Toraskar, a member of Maharashtra’s Covid-19 taskforce, said, “November has been better compared to other months, but we will have to continue testing. Our suggestion is that the number of tests should not be reduced but remain the same, if not increased.”
On the other hand, Dr Shashank Joshi, another member of the state’s Covid-19 taskforce, said there has been a rise in testing, but there are two probable reasons why the number may be going down – people are not getting tested but getting treated by their personal physician for Covid-19, which is not a good thing. Secondly, as cases are going down, people are not getting tested, assuming Covid-19 is gone. “We need to continue with Covid-appropriate behaviour because cases may have gone down but Covid-19 is not gone,” he said.