Mumbai: 80 per cent active COVID-19 cases from high-rises

Updated: 21 November, 2020 07:20 IST | Prajakta Kasale | Mumbai

While officials were worried about returning migrants, ground realities show the spread is still more prevalent in city buildings

BMC staffers fine maskless people at Marine Drive
BMC staffers fine maskless people at Marine Drive

While the city is on the alert for a possible second wave of COVID-19 because of migrants returning, 80 per cent of the caseload is still from high-rises. During the contact tracing of such patients, officials say, most were said to be part of gatherings at home.

As slums had emerged as COVID hotspots in the early days of the pandemic, the corporation dealt with it by creating containment zones, with over 500 big slum areas having been sealed. In June, the virus shifted to buildings and most of the cases have continued to come from there.

BMC has focused its efforts on shopkeepers, hawkers, conductors and passengers coming from outside the city. Whereas, testing in slums has also been increased with migrant workers returning from their hometowns. After tests were increased from 5,000 to 15,000. On average, during the three days of Diwali, there were 500 cases daily. The number increased to 871 and 924 on November 17 and 18 respectively. "Most of the cases have come from towers. There are very few cases in slums," said Prashant Gaikwad, assistant commissioner, D ward.

Social distancing was clearly not high on the agenda at this antigen COVID-19 test camp at Kandivli. Pic/Satej Shinde
Social distancing was clearly not high on the agenda at this antigen COVID-19 test camp at Kandivli. Pic/Satej Shinde

Manish Valanju, assistant commissioner of L ward, said, "We have been continuously conducting tests at LTT for the arriving passengers. But hardly one or two cases are detected after 300 to 400 tests. The numbers are low in slums despite antigen and RT-PCR tests." Valanju added that Covid Care Centres to quarantine asymptotic patients, especially from small houses, are ready, but as if now, cases are being reported in buildings only.

Another BMC official explained, "While working on positive patients' contact tracing, most people say there was a gathering at home, guests came or that they went to someone's place. So the cases are being reported because of people gathering and not because of migrants returning."

"No trend related to migration has been seen. We are enforcing wearing of masks strictly as it is the best tool. We are also conducting awareness campaigns in buildings," said Vishwas Mote, assistant commissioner, K West ward.

"It seems people in slums have developed antibodies and they are reluctant to test themselves till symptoms start. They fear losing their daily wages due to quarantine. On the other hand, residents staying in high-rises are used to testing themselves periodically or after outings as a precautionary measure," said a BMC official.

02
Approx. no. of +ve cases found in 400 tests of train passengers

871
No. of COVID-19 cases recorded on Nov 17

924
No. of COVID-19 cases recorded on Nov 18

SSC, HSC re-exam students can take train

In a late decision, the railway board on Friday night allowed students appearing for the repeat SSC and HSC examinations to travel by Mumbai local trains till December 10 with hall tickets and valid identity cards to the venue of the exam and back. The exams started on Friday.

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First Published: 21 November, 2020 07:01 IST

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