A day after reporting 4,092 COVID-19 cases, the highest single-day tally in more than a month, Maharashtra saw the daily count fall on Monday, though it remained above 3,000 for the sixth straight day as the state government termed the situation "alarming" and warned of "harsh decisions" after the recent spike.
Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar expressed displeasure over people not following COVID-19-related guidelines.
In addition to Vidarbha districts, Mumbai city also continued to report the highest single-day cases in the state with a spike of 493 on Monday.
Mumbai's M-west ward, home to Chembur, is once again on the BMC radar owing to the sudden rise in cases.
At the start of the pandemic, M-west ward was one of the worst-affected wards in the city.
To contain the spread, the civic body has warned residents to either abide by the norms or be ready to face yet another lockdown. It has also issued new guidelines and imposed restrictions on residential societies, saying more cases are being reported from high-rises. Further, the ward officer has suggested the start of a vaccination drive for elderly residents in the area at the earliest.
According to civic officials, the M-west ward was reporting less than 15 cases a day, which has now increased to over 25. Going by the corona dashboard, this ward has the lowest doubling rate of 245 days among the city's 24 wards. Ward officials said they had learnt that COVID-19 norms were being rampantly flouted by most residents of the M-west ward, and this was leading to a rise in the number of cases. The daily growth rate had increased to 0.28 per cent, double the city’s average, which stands at 0.14 per cent.
Taking serious note, authorities have issued stringent guidelines to societies, and have begun testing hawkers. “We have asked societies to restrict the entry of outsiders like maids and milk delivery persons, implement thermal screening and ensure testing of high-risk contacts. They should also inform about arrivals from corona-affected countries who have not undergone mandatory COVID testing,” said a ward official.
A copy of the notice, available with The Free Press Journal, shows that civic authorities have started sealing buildings and societies with a higher prevalence of positive cases.
At present, the M-west ward is reporting the highest number of daily cases, which is a matter of concern, and there are chances that we may have to impose local lockdown measures, it states.
M-west ward Assistant Commissioner Prithviraj Chauhan said there were many factors leading to the current spike in cases. People have not been following COVID norms, and group infections have increased since last week; people are also attending weddings and family functions, a contributor to the surge.
“Due to the negligence of residents in Chembur, cases have increased. Following this, we began home surveys and found that around 6-7 people from a single family are getting infected. If citizens fail to be responsible, then our higher authorities will most certainly take a call on imposing a ‘local lockdown’ in this area,” he hinted.
Dr Bhupendra Patil, medical officer, health, said they had also started testing the hawkers and shopkeepers. “We are now focusing on those places thronged by people, such as ‘khau-gallis’ and vegetable sellers,” he added.
(With inputs from PTI and FPJ's Swapnil Mishra)