COVID-19 in Mumbai: 'Aggressive screening, sealing slums helped,' says BMC

Updated: Jun 25, 2020, 07:47 IST | Prajakta Kasale | Mumbai

Two months back seven wards mainly in South, South Central Mumbai accounted for 55% of total cases but now they only have a 37% share

Civic workers conduct swab tests at the Dhareshwar Temple compound in Dharavi. Pic/Suresh Karkera
Civic workers conduct swab tests at the Dhareshwar Temple compound in Dharavi. Pic/Suresh Karkera

Once declared the hotspots of the COVID-19 pandemic, seven of 24 wards mainly in the South and South Central parts of Mumbai have started to show a sharp decline in the number of cases. Two months back they accounted for 55 per cent of the total number of cases in the city but now they only have a 37 per cent share and accounts for 30 per cent of the total active cases.

Cases started emerging in K West ward (Jogeshwari West to Vile parle West) in March itself (mainly those with international travel history) and Worli Koliwada in G South ward (Mahalaxmi, Parel) was the first area to be sealed after a cluster of cases were reported from there. While Dharavi (G North ward) did not have that many cases in the first four weeks of the pandemic, the numbers started to increase from May. Slums in Kurla (L ward), Bandra (H East), Wadala (F North) and Byculla (E ward) remained hotspots for at least three months due to a number of cases emerging from these pockets. The BMC adopted a new management policy and started sealing whole slums instead of small Containment Zones in the city from mid-March.

On April 22, these seven wards had a total of 2,088 cases, which was 55.6 per cent of the city's total number of cases (3,754). In the next 35 days, by May 27, the number of cases in each of these wards increased five to 10 fold. While in G South ward (Worli and Prabhadevi), the cases increased by five fold, in G North, where Dharavi emerged as a hotspot, cases increased by 10 fold. By May 27, these areas accounted for 47 per cent of the total number of cases in the city.

At that time even some other parts of the city, especially K East ward (Jogeshwari East to Vile Parle East) M East ward (Govandi, Mankhurd) and M West ward (Ghatkopar), had started reporting a large number of cases. As of June 23, though these seven wards continue to occupy top spots in terms of the number of cases, they now account for only 37.5 per cent of the city's total. They have a total of 9,423 active patients, which is 30 per cent of the city's total active cases of 30,158. In the last 28 days, the total number of cases in these wards (except K West) has seen only a 1.6 fold increase. The same in K West ward is two-fold. A BMC official said, "Now the doubling rate period of the city has improved to 39 days. It was 12 days in the first week of May. In H East, the same is 88 days. It also has the slowest growth rate in the city. The doubling rate period is 82 days in F North ward, 74 days in E ward and 70 days in L ward." "This is the result of aggressive screening, finding out the suspected cases and testing them. This has also led to early detection, early treatment and a rise in the discharge rate," said Kiran Dighavkar, assistant commissioner of G North ward. Speaking to mid-day, assistant commissioner of H east ward, Ashok Khairnar said, "Sealing whole
slums, house-to-house surveys, setting up fever clinics, detecting cases early, tracking close contacts and sending them to institutional quarantine are the key factors that have helped in reducing the number of cases."

Now, seven wards have lower share of cases

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