Coronavirus outbreak: Two South Mumbai buildings report 32 cases of COVID-19

Updated: Jun 21, 2020, 06:59 IST | Prajakta Kasale | Mumbai

A majority of the cases were of domestic workers, compelling residential societies to rethink allowing entry to outsiders

Sagar Darshan building on Bhulabhai Desai Road
Sagar Darshan building on Bhulabhai Desai Road

Two residential societies in South Mumbai have been sealed by the BMC, after a total of 32 COVID-19 positive cases were reported on Saturday.

The state government and the BMC had rolled out phase-wise reopening of the city from June 5. While there isn't a ban on house helps and drivers, many housing societies have temporarily prohibited their entry. However, both the buildings in South Mumbai, where cases have now been reported, had allowed entry to domestic workers.

"Ten cases have been reported in Sagar Darshan building on Bhulabhai Desai Road and 22 cases in Tahnee Heights on Nepean Sea Road. The residents of all buildings should follow social distancing as COVID-19 cases are still emerging," said Prashant Gaikwad, assistant commissioner of D ward. As per the procedure, the buildings were sealed and only essential services were allowed to operate. While at Sagar Darshan building most of the cases are that of residents, in Tahnee Heights, 20 of the cases were that of helpers.

Tahnee Heights on Nepean Sea Road. Pics/Bipin Kokate
Tahnee Heights on Nepean Sea Road. Pics/Bipin Kokate

Other residential buildings in the neighbourhood are now on guard. "There was an argument between our members, over the issue of allowing domestic helps and drivers entry into the buildings, as there are containment zones in D ward. But, after we heard about 22 cases being reported in the same building, we cannot take a risk," said a secretary of a building in Malabar Hill, on condition of anonymity.

Speaking to mid-day, a BMC official blamed the residents for their callous approach. "After the first phase of reopening, everyone started behaving as if the pandemic was over. Having said that, such cluster cases are normal. If members of a family test positive, others who come in contact with them are also likely to get the infection. But there is no need to panic, as most of the cases are asymptomatic and can be treated with home quarantine."

D ward reported 1,950 cases till June 18, of which 1,023 people have been discharged. The daily growth rate is 2.2 per cent, which is equal to the city's growth rate of cases. There are eight slum areas in this ward, including Parekhwadi, Municipal Chawl near Girgaum Chowpatty, Darya Sagar slum, Sumit Patra chawl, Old Chikhalwadi, Marwadi chawl near Gamadia Colony, BIT Chawl and Simla Nagar slum.

Slums sealed in North Mumbai

Even though the number of COVID-19 cases in the north part of the city is still low, the growth rate is on the higher side. There are presently several small containment zones, but after meeting with the police on Friday, the BMC decided to merge these zones into a large pocket with only one entry and exit point. In Dahisar, there were 132 small containment zones across the R North ward. "We have now merged it and sealed 34 slums. The police will be strictly monitoring these areas," said Sandhya Nandedkar, assistant commissioner of R North (Dahisar) ward. In P North (Malad), areas like Kokani Pada, Tanaji Nagar, Shivaji Nagar, Kranti Nagar, Appa Pada and Pimpri Pada will be sealed till June 27. At present, Kandivli has 50 containment zones, while Borivli and Malad have 13 and 32 zones. "The number of containment zones in the slums will further be reduced for better management," said an official from BMC.

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