COVID-19: Mumbai Metropolitan Region active cases doubled in 15 days; meet to decide on lockdown today

Updated: Jul 09, 2020, 08:06 IST | Prajakta Kasale | Mumbai

Neighbouring municipal corporations have been showing 1.5 times more active COVID-19 cases than Mumbai, with a doubling rate of 15 days as compared to Mumbai's 45 days

An empty street in Thane West amid a complete lockdown. Pic/Sameer Markande
An empty street in Thane West amid a complete lockdown. Pic/Sameer Markande

The number of COVID-19 cases in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) has doubled in the past 15 days with the number of active cases being 50 per cent more than that of Mumbai. While all the municipal corporations in MMR are under lockdown and four commissioners were replaced two weeks ago, the numbers worryingly continue to rise unabated.

Mumbai has been recording lesser daily numbers for the past month with 29,720 active cases on June 22, which came down to 23,359 on July 7. On the other hand, the number of active cases increased from 16,929 to 35,541 in the MMR during the same period.

SJ Kunte, additional chief secretary
SJ Kunte, additional chief secretary

Most of the cities in the MMR are currently under lockdown. "After the relaxing of the lockdown, people started wandering in public places or meeting in groups. It spread the virus rapidly. The lockdown helps to cut the chain of spread," said S J Kunte, additional chief secretary and in-charge of MMR for COVID-19 management.

"Even if a lockdown is there, employees in essential services have to travel daily to other cities. Despite several requests to not call them to work or provide them with alternative accommodations, nothing was done. The situation in MMR would have been under control had these precautions been taken beforehand," said an officer working for a corporation in the MMR.

Shuttered shops seen at Gokhale Road in Thane. Pic/Sameer Markande
Shuttered shops seen at Gokhale Road in Thane. Pic/Sameer Markande

Extending the lockdown in MMR will be discussed on Thursday at the state level. Kunte said that while the number of cases is increasing, many citizens are opposed to the lockdown, which will necessitate a balance in the plans going ahead.

The MMR includes Thane district, Thane city, Kalyan-Dombivali, Navi Mumbai, Ulhasnagar, Bhiwandi-Nizampur, Mira-Bhayandar, Palghar and Vasai-Virar. While its doubling rate is15 days, Mumbai's is 45 days. The total number of cases in the region on June 22 and July 7 was 29,011 and 58,880 respectively. The number of deaths increased from 825 to 1,532 in the same period.

However, the silver lining in the region is the mortality rate of 2.6 per cent, which in Mumbai is 5.8 per cent.

"The strategy is to test the patients, trace close contacts and track their health. If we put too much emphasis on the growing number of cases, there is a tendency of the numbers being suppressed. This will result in more deaths which has to be avoided. An increasing number of cases indicates a higher amount of testing," said an officer from the health department.

16,929
No. of active cases in MMR on June 22

35,541
No. of active cases in MMR on July 7

COVID-19 in MMR (cumulative cases)

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