Mumbai: For the last 15 days, COVID-19 cases have more than doubled in P-South Ward of the city comprising of Jogeshwari, Goregaon and Malad areas.
Reckless attitude of citizens, lack of adherence to stringent lockdown measures and a mix of population living in slum settlements and residential societies are a few major reasons for the hike in number of affected and infected cases.
As of May 11, around 280 confirmed cases of coronavirus have been reported in this ward, according to the data of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). This number has increased drastically as there were 95 confirmed cases as per the data on April 25.
Deepak Thakur, municipal corporator of Chincholi Bunder area in Malad west, said, "The cases are increasing as every day we are finding new people who are being tested positive. It is alarming to see this rise despite lockdown because earlier in April the number of cases in our ward was relatively less."
Aarey Milk Colony in Goregaon East, Santosh Nagar and Pathanwadi in Malad east, Govind Nagar in Goregaon East, Bimbisar Nagar near the Western Express Highway (WEH), Chincholi Bunder in Malad west and Bangur Nagar in Goregaon west are some of the major hotspots or risk prone areas.
Rekha Ramvanshi, municipal corporator of Aarey Milk Colony, said, "We have a large population residing in slum settlements in Unit no 22 and 30 inside Aarey Colony. We have 17 cases in Aarey and nearby SRP areas, but all patients are being hospitalised."
Residents living in Aarey are involved in transportation, supply chain, loading and unloading of goods, construction, and daily wage jobs. Ramvanshi said, "Most people who live in Aarey are truck drivers, packers and movers, mechanics and suppliers of milk, grains or vegetables.
They go to work every day, interact with people outside and are thus at higher risks of contracting the virus." We cannot stop working because we are supplying milk, dairy products, and vegetables to residents, said Sudhir Chettiar, an Aarey resident who is a truck driver.
Chettiar said, "I drive the truck every day to transport milk as there is an increasing demand for milk during lockdown. This also means that I need to buy a higher quantity of fodder for the cattle when I return.
I am taking basic precaution, but we are at higher risks because we are an essential service." Despite the rise in number of cases, humanitarian aid such as distribution of food packets, precautionary action such as spraying of disinfectants at public toilets and regular testing is being done.
Sadhna Mane, municipal corporator of Malad east area said, "Over 2,000 beds have been placed at NESCO Exhibition Centre. Hotels like Royal Palms and OYO rooms have been turned into temporary quarantine centres."