Dharavi may soon be a challenge for government as two new coronavirus cases emerge in Asia's largest slum

Updated: Apr 05, 2020, 07:29 IST | Chetna Sadadekar | Mumbai

New cases in the slum, which is already struggling; first case at Shivaji Park building. Worli's Jijamata Nagar also sealed

The usually bustling Dharavi is quiet on Friday
The usually bustling Dharavi is quiet on Friday

Dharavi may soon turn into a bigger challenge for government authorities, as two new cases have emerged in Asia's biggest slum, which falls under the G North Ward of the BMC. With this, the total tally of positive patients found in the area is now four. Not just this, another positive patient was reported from the G North Ward at Shivaji Park, resulting in 32 residents being quarantined and the premises beng sealed. All these reported positive cases have no travel history, confirmed BMC's ward authorities.

Fortunately, the close contacts of the first patient from Dharavi, who was declared dead on Wednesday by the Sion Hospital authorities—seven family members and his doctor—have tested negative, confirmed the ward officials. However, there is one more symptomatic case who has fever and cough—a 30-year-old female—in the same area but residing in the neighbouring building as the deceased. The two were not in direct contact or related to each other, said officials.

Police constables, wearing the PPE kit, guard the area at Shivaji Park near Suryavanshi Hall, where a 60-year-old COVID-19 patient was living. Pics/Pradeep Dhivar, Suresh Karkera
Police constables, wearing the PPE kit, guard the area at Shivaji Park near Suryavanshi Hall, where a 60-year-old COVID-19 patient was living. Pics/Pradeep Dhivar, Suresh Karkera

A health camp has been set up in the area where the new patient was found and swabs of all the symptomatic cases will be taken and sent for testing. Until then, the area will remain cordoned off, said officials. In view of the outbreak and cases being found in Dharavi, buildings were sealed and basic needs such as medicines, vegetables and food packets are being provided to the residents of these buildings.

There is another positive case detected in Mukund Nagar slum at Dharavi—a 48-year-old male has been admitted to Sion Hospital. Even this person has no travel history, confirmed BMC officials. The BMC will soon be identifying the contact history and testing all high-risk contacts and all those showing symptoms will be immediately shifted to Rajiv Gandhi Sports complex, Dharavi, where the civic body has arranged a 300-bed facility for such emergencies. Food and other facilities will be provided to them. Meanwhile, they have also sanitised the slum area.

Jijamata Nagar, which has 10 cases, was sealed. Pic/Suresh Karkera
Jijamata Nagar, which has 10 cases, was sealed. Pic/Suresh Karkera

First case in Shivaji Park
Another positive case that was identified in G North Ward came from Dadar's Shivaji Park area. A senior citizen, residing in one of the buildings, was found positive and was sent to Hinduja Hospital. There was no travel history in this case, said officials. The authorities have quarantined the patient's high-risk contacts, and have sent their swabs for examination. The building has been completely disinfected and sealed. The ground plus three-storey structure at Shivaji Park has about 15 apartments and there are 32 residents residing there, who have been stamped. The assistant municipal commissioner of G north ward office, Kiran Dighavkar, confirmed the development.

Jijamata Nagar shuts down
With 16 people suspected of being positive for Coronavirus between Friday and Saturday, Worli's Jijamata Nagar has been sealed. A slum area with 4,200 shanties and a population of 25,000, 10 positive cases were reported from here. The BMC has started spraying disinfectant in the area. The police is appealing to residents to not step out of their homes.

Local corporator Datta Narvankar said, "BMC has placed 122 people from Jijamata Nagar in the isolation ward as precaution. These people have been kept at Raheja Hospital in Mahim and Podar Hospital in Worli." A resident of the area, Martin DeCosta, said that while the cops assured them that grocery and medical shops would remain open, that wasn't the case.

Special Corona clinics
In order to conduct the preliminary investigation to identify patients locally, screenings have started at 16-odd places and 85 flu patient were screened at the time of going to the press. These clinics have been mainly set up in densely populated areas and in the vicinity of "Containment Zones". The clinic will have a team consisting of a doctor and a nurse. During the four-hour period from 9 am to 1 pm, there will be samples of suspected "swabs" sent to the hospitals for testing. The assistant municipal commissioners of the ward, where these clinics are set up in coordination with the Medical Health Officer, and BMC staff will make necessary transport arrangements.

Dedicated hospitals
Five hospitals—Kasturba, St George, Seven Hills, Saifee and Nanavati—are dedicated hospitals for more effective treatment of infected and positive COVID-19 patients. At these hospitals, patients above the age of 60 and also the patients who have symptoms and whose reports have been "positive" will be admitted for treatment. There are separate centres in Mumbai at seven places for non-symptomatic patients and ones below the age of 60. In case of high-risk contacts, the citizens will be moved to lodges, hostels and halls.

Number of beds at a special medical facility in Dharavi

With inputs by Vishal Singh

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