By Wednesday, five municipal corporations of Mumbai’s satellite cities – Thane, Mira Bhayander, Kalyan Dombivali, Navi Mumbai and Panvel – have announced a 10-day lockdown following a spike in Covid-19 in their areas. Mumbai, meanwhile, has been maintaining a steady pace in reporting fresh daily cases. Tabassum Barnagarwala reports why these municipal corporations have been forced to announce the lockdown.
What has necessitated the lockdown in these cities?
Between May 31 and June 30, Mumbai has registered a 94 per cent increase in Covid-19 cases. In its satellite cities, however, the increase has been far more exponential. Thane has witnessed a 166 per cent increase, Panvel 364 per cent, Mira Bhayander 414 percent and Kalyan Dombivali 469 per cent.
Why are the numbers spiking in these cities?
The increased movement of people post lockdown relaxation on June 3 led to an increase in the number of cases in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. In Mira Bhayander, where 3,592 cases have been recorded, Deputy Mayor Hasmukh Gehlot said, “People travel to Mumbai from here for work, resulting in a spike in cases. Of the total infected, 60 to 70 per cent had travelled to Mumbai.”
In Panvel, where 2,318 cases have been recorded – a jump from 499 since May 30 – municipal corporation health officer Dr Sunil Nakhate said, “People have been started travelling to Mumbai for a month now. Movement has also increased locally. This has led to a rise in cases.”
Is increased testing resulting in detection of more cases?
The pace of testing has picked up in these municipal corporation areas, as the number of cases in Mumbai stabilises. Thane Municipal Corporation was testing 700 to 800 samples a day until a month ago. Now it performs 1,000 to 1,100 tests per day. “We plan to touch 3,000 in a week,” said Commissioner Vipin Sharma. The testing strength has improved by over 40 per cent in Thane city over a month.
Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation used to test around 170 to 200 samples each day until May end. In a month, it has scaled up to 250 to 300 tests per day. While Mira Bhayander is now performing 350 to 400 tests per day, Bhiwandi Nizampur Corporation is testing 130 to 150 daily.
Panvel, meanwhile, is conducting 150 tests per day, while it has the capacity to perform 250 tests. “Until a month ago, we performed 70 to 80 tests daily. In one month, we have conducted over 4,000 tests. We are also trying to start conducting rapid antigen tests,” said Deputy Municipal Commissioner Sanjay Shinde.
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