As Mumbai crosses 17,000 cases, BMC sub-divides containment zones to manage situation better

Updated: May 16, 2020, 08:05 IST | Prajakta Kasale | Mumbai

Nine Mumbai wards see ten-fold jump in cases in one month

State Reserve Police Force deployed at Damu Nagar, Kandivli. Pic/ Satej Shinde
State Reserve Police Force deployed at Damu Nagar, Kandivli. Pic/ Satej Shinde

In a bid to utilise manpower efficiently, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has divided Containment Zones (CZs) into two parts — manageable buildings and congested areas. But, even after the division, there are 1,200 buildings where people aren't free to move around for the next 14 days. The number of CZs in congested areas has almost become half of what it was, as the BMC has sealed whole slum pockets containing multiple CZs.

As per the standard operating procedure, the civic body seals a building or an area if someone tests positive for COVID-19. On May 9, there were 2,643 CZs in the city and the rate at which cases are increasing, by this time the total number of CZs would have crossed 3,000. However, as per the new list, the city has a total of 1,963 CZs of which 692 are in slum pockets.

Speaking to mid-day, Ashwini Bhide, additional municipal commissioner of the BMC and in-charge of CZ management, said, "The BMC needs to rationalise the CZs for better manpower deployment and containment measure. The main aim is to cover missing areas between multiple CZs which are difficult to monitor."

While the number of buildings being sealed is still on the higher side, the civic body thinks that it's manageable as houses have separate toilets and people can stay indoors for 14 days. According to the list, 124 buildings have been sealed in K East ward (Jogeshwari-Vile Parle East), followed by 117 buildings in L ward (Kurla), 111 in E ward (Byculla) and 90 each in K West (Jogeshwari to Vile Parle West) and F North (Wadala).

Worli Koliwada became decontained after no cases were reported recently. PIC/ashish raje
Worli Koliwada became decontained after no cases were reported recently. Pic/Ashish Raje

Major changes have happened in the CZs of congested areas. Earlier, there were about 1,300 CZs in slums, but now the number has reduced by almost half.

While G North ward has the highest number of cases in the city with almost 1,000 in Dharavi, it has a total of 11 CZs. In K West ward, there are 13 CZs, while H East ward (Santacruz to Bandra East) has only 14. At the same time, the F North ward has 22 CZs, E ward has 19 and L ward has 205 CZs.

Speaking about the problem of combining more CZs, supervisor of Zone 4 (Vile Parle West to Jogeshwari West, Malad and Kandivali), Suresh Kakani said, "The BMC can manage a slum with distinctive boundaries like roads where it can be separated by barricades. But that might not be possible with every area. So the decision to combine CZs will depend on a case-to-case basis."

10-fold increase

According to the latest information, the wards that had the maximum number of COVID-19 cases a month ago still have a large chunk of patients. Nine out of 24 wards recorded a 10-fold increase in cases over the last month, which is even higher than the city's 7.7 fold increase over the same period.

On 14 April, the top five wards, G South had 360 cases, E 135, D 130, G North 97 and H East 96 cases. Except for D ward, all the others have recorded a massive spike in cases since then. On May 14, G north recorded 1,362 cases — the highest – followed by G South (1,232), E (1,085), F/North (1,082), L (1,024) and K West (1,026).

The number of patients is still concentrated in the southern part of the city — from Worli to Byculla to Mahim and Wadala. K West ward and L ward each has crossed 1,000 positive cases. The T ward (Mulund) has recorded a 26-fold spike in cases (highest). It initially had 11 cases, which rose to 292 on May 14. In the meantime, G North, F South and K West wards reported 14, 19 and 12-fold increase in cases respectively.

However, G South and D wards recorded three and five-fold increase respectively.


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