On Saturday, Mumbai recorded 259 new Covid-19 infections and a marginal increase in its positivity rate at 0.7 per cent. In the past 24 hours, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) conducted 34,883 tests in the city.
Mumbai’s daily case load of 318 reported on Friday had crept beyond 300 for the first time this month. On Friday, the BMC had also conducted the highest number of tests in a single day, 56,566, with the daily positivity rate being 0.5 per cent.
At the peak of the second wave, the BMC on April 3 had conducted 51,319 tests in a single day, the highest till then. In April, the city’s daily positivity rate was consistently around 20 per cent. At the peak of the second wave, the daily positivity was as high as 27.94 per cent on April 4, which has now fallen below 1 per cent.
Dr Shashank Joshi, a member of Maharashtra’s Covid task force, said, “There is an endemic nature of the virus in Mumbai, because of which the daily caseload has been around 300 and not dipping significantly. It is different from what is seen in Pune, Delhi and other metro cities. But now, we are seeing a clear decline for the first time, possibly due to large exposure and vaccines as well.”
For the past week, the positivity rate has been between 0.7 and 0.5 per cent. Since July 30 this year, the positivity rate has been below 1 per cent. A declining positivity rate suggests that the number of infections in the city is decreasing.
The BMC has been conducting around 35,000 tests on an average during the week. Typically, daily tests have fallen over the weekend, going below 30,000 in a day. BMC officials said testing was increased on Thursday and Friday as a trial run for the preparation of the impending third wave.
BMC officials added that there has not been any significant rise in cases in the first week since the relaxations were announced for the city, but the civic body is keeping a close watch.
A ward official said, “The main challenge will be festivals when people would throng markets, attend public events and travel.”
As the market timing was extended since last week for improved vaccine coverage in the city, the BMC has also started a free mobile vaccination drive for shopkeepers and hawkers in the market areas.
On cases remaining between 250 and 350 and not dropping below 100 as recorded in Delhi, a senior BMC health department official said, “This is a theory-based analysis of data, which shows that if we take timely steps of lockdown, tight restrictions as soon as the cases start rising and following the peak when things are allowed to open gradually rather than opening up everything at the same time, daily cases, positivity rate and death rate remain in control. In Delhi, daily cases had reached over 28,000 with 272 deaths in a single day. But in Mumbai, it was 11,000 cases with deaths below 100. Sudden opening up could lead to an extreme rise in daily cases with high deaths and then sharp dip after the peak is over.”
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