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Thursday, April 22, 2021

Head: Lockdown not on cards in Mumbai: Chahal

The number of cases in Mumbai and the state has been rising steadily, with the state crossing 1 lakh active Covid-19 infections on Thursday.

Written by Tabassum Barnagarwala | Mumbai |
March 12, 2021 2:54:24 am
Lockdown Mumbai expectancyCivic officials said that two factors will determine whether lockdown is required— lack of isolation beds and change in nature of transmission or infectivity pattern (Express Photo by Pradip Das)

Amid rising Covid cases in the city, BMC Commissioner Iqbal Chahal on Thursday said that a lockdown was not immediately on the cards in Mumbai.

The number of cases in Mumbai and the state has been rising steadily, with the state crossing 1 lakh active Covid-19 infections on Thursday. Maharashtra now has 1,06,070 active cases with Mumbai accounting for 10,563 active cases. The city is behind Pune, Nagpur and Thane, which have 21,276, 13,800, and 10,824 active cases, respectively.

“As of now, there is no plan of imposing a lockdown,” Chahal told The Indian Express.

Civic officials said that two factors will determine whether lockdown is required— lack of isolation beds and change in nature of transmission or infectivity pattern. Of 13,536 isolation beds, 38 per cent beds are occupied. Mumbai still has 8,343 beds vacant. Less than 400 of over 11,000 active infections are critical and on ventilators.

Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani said the surge in Covid-19 cases has not yet put pressure on hospital infrastructure. “We have not seen a change in infectivity pattern. Majority of cases are asymptomatic and can be handled by home isolation,” he said.

Kakani said a lockdown will only be planned if BMC needs more time to set up medical infrastructure. “We discussed it internally, even if there is a night curfew, most people in Mumbai travel during the day. Night curfew will not have any effect,” he said.

BMC has issued circulars to all housing societies to ensure quarantine norms are followed by residents. If a resident is found violating quarantine or isolation, he will be forcibly taken for institutional quarantine. In serious cases, a police case will be registered against them.

Concurring with such measures, Maharashtra Health Secretary Dr Pradeep Vyas said that “mapping of cases, implementation of containment zones, regular surveillance” are key measures to control a surge. State officials have directed districts with more than 15 per cent test positivity rate to have local containment zones and strictly adhere to masks. In districts with less than 10 per cent positivity, awareness campaigns on hand washing and masking must continue.

Over the last few days, Mumbai’s positivity rate has risen from 4.5 to 7 per cent. But its daily death rate remains below 0.5 per cent.

Mumbai has been recording over 1,000 cases daily since February 28. On Thursday Mumbai recorded 1,509 new Covid-19 infections, taking total cases to 3.37 lakh. The city accounts for 11,519 deaths. The age group 60-69 years has been worst hit with 3,302 deaths recorded.

Vaccination for the vulnerable group began from March 1, with over 5 lakh aged 60 plus vaccinated in the city. With a lakh vaccinations planned in a day by BMC in coming days, civic officials are confident of covering the high-risk population quickly.

Officials said that buildings with more than five cases will be sealed. Small containment zones will be formed in clusters where there is a local spread. Ward officials said they are noticing a scattered trend of cases across housing societies, indicative of no particular hotspot. BMC plans to continue inspection of marriage halls to check if they exceed the 50-guests limit for weddings or social events, and restaurants to ensure they follow physical distancing.

Kakani said that asking restaurants to shut early may have a “cascading effect” and demand to shut more avenues may come up.

BOX

Don’t resist testing: CM

Mumbai: Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray urged people to not resist Covid-19 testing and to cooperate if institutional quarantine is advised by district officials.

He said that officials have come across positive cases leaving home to escape institutional quarantine. He added that lockdown is not the answer but the last resort. “People must avoid unnecessary gathering,” he said.

Thackeray and his wife got vaccinated in JJ Hospital on Thursday. The CM said that the state is speeding up its daily vaccination to cover a large population quickly. Until Thursday, Maharashtra had vaccinated 21.25 lakh people.

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