Coronavirus outbreak: 80,000 cooped up as Worli Koliwada sealed

Updated: Mar 31, 2020, 07:25 IST | Prajakta Kasale, Vishal Singh | Mumbai

With seven people with no history of foreign travel testing positive, authorities go into high alert, as anxiety runs high in the locked up community

People were warned to stay indoors. Pic/Bipin Kokate
People were warned to stay indoors. Pic/Bipin Kokate

Worli Koliwada and Janta Colony, part of minister Aaditya Thackeray’s constituency, and with a population of 80,000, were sealed on Sunday midnight with seven people testing positive for Coronavirus and four suspected to have contracted it.

While none have travelled internationally, the health department has not been able to trace the origin of transmission in most cases. Most of the people in the area live in chawls and small houses. The first patient was detected on Friday and his close contacts were tested. By Sunday night, the number rose to seven, including a doctor who runs a pathology lab; four were sent to Kasturba Hospital for tests.

One of the patients is the father of a taxi driver who ferried passengers that had returned from Dubai. The taxi driver too has started showing symptoms and is admitted.

CM Uddhav Thackeray, who was being briefed about the situation, ordered the sealing of the area on Sunday. A tweet by Aaditya on Monday read, "Late last night 2 am onwards, Koliwada and Janta Colony have been sealed off further. Disinfection and fumigation is on along with contact tracing."

‘Everyone kept wandering about’
Mayor Kishori Pednekar, who lives in Worli, said, "We were requesting people to stay indoors. But people were not taking the situation seriously. Even now, especially women, are not listening to police’s instructions. You can survive without vegetables for a few days, but please stay indoors for your own safety," Pednekar said.

A resident said, "We don’t know what is happening outside. There are a few patients but we don’t know how many exactly. We are not allowed to open our doors under any circumstance. There’s police in every small lane. We hear the sirens of police vehicles." Maximum parts of the area have been sanitised, including shops and doctors’ clinics. "The houses are very small. Suspected people can’t isolate at home. Besides, the use of public toilets is a major worry. They are being sanitised at regular intervals," said another resident.

A BMC official said that there are around 30,000 homes in Worli Koliwada. "No one is allowed to leave their house. People’s houses are located very close so we are more careful," the official said.

Diwakar Shelke, senior inspector of Dadar police, said, "As per BMC’s directive, the area has been barricaded for sanitation."

Rajendra Jadhav, a resident, said, "We got scared after we heard that five people are infected. No one is leaving the area."

Another resident, Ankita Patil, said, "We had stocked foodgrains enough for a month. But my mother is a blood pressure patient and the chemist here is closed. We may face problems due to this."

"People here were not following the rules. Since they had no work, they kept wandering and now no one is seen outside. The police should have done this earlier," said Santosh Kashid, another resident.

Bala Patil, BJP vice-president of Worli Koliwada, said, "Lockdown rules were not followed. Shops were open. Only after the police sealed the area did the police understand how terrible Coronavirus is."

BMC to map Coronavirus
The BMC will make available a map of Mumbai that will indicate the spots with a large number of positive cases. "It will make people aware of the situation so that they can take precautions, " said BMC officer. The decision was made on Monday during a meeting presided over by the civic chief.

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