Since last year’s Covid-19 outbreak, the area has reported a total of 6,861 infections, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) data states. Of these, 2,900 cases, which is nearly 42 per cent, were recorded amid the second wave.
In March, the congested slum settlement recorded average 50 cases daily. By March 23, a single 250-bed quarantine centre at Vanita Samaj Hall was fully occupied and the civic corporation had to start two more quarantine centres to increase admission capacity for Dharavi residents alone.
Since May 10, however, Dharavi has been recording a daily drop in the cases. Post May 26, fewer than 10 cases have been reported from the slum-dominated area. Until Monday, there were only 13 active cases in Dharavi. Of these, four are admitted in the hospital, three in Covid Care Centres and six in home isolation. With this, the BMC has now shut its quarantine centres in the area. A community centre converted into a quarantine facility in the Dadar area is currently in use.
Interestingly, just before February 2, when the second wave began, no new infection was recorded from the area. Dharavi was also known for successfully controlling the number of daily cases during the first wave. Since September 2020, the number of daily cases to be recorded from the area dipped below 30 with no new cases reported in a 24-hour period on six occasions – once in December last year, on four days in January and once in February this year. The ward officer’s decision not to discontinue the fever clinics in the area had helped screen and isolate the slum population, especially since February when Dharavi, like other parts of Mumbai, too, started recording a spike in Covid cases. On April 8, the highest single-day increase was recorded at 99, sparking concerns. Since February, 47 deaths have been also recorded, taking the total toll reported from the area to 359.
A vaccination centre at an urban health centre in Dharavi, popularly known as ‘Chhota Sion Hospital’, was opened on March 22. After a tepid response in the first 10 days, vaccination numbers picked up, going up to 600 inoculations on May 6. The centre has vaccinated around 23,000 people to date, of whom a majority are from Dharavi.