Mumbai: “Avoid overcrowding. Use face masks, follow all protocols while in public events, gatherings, weddings, etc….It is up to you. Otherwise, be prepared for another lockdown,” said CM Uddhav Thackeray.
- Shiv Sena described the COVID-19 situation in Maharashtra as “worrying and serious”
- The number of cases coming from Mumbai’s M-West ward that covers Chembur has left the authorities worried
- Mumbai on Tuesday reported 461 new COVID-19 cases, taking the tally in the city to 3,15,030
Mumbai: As the entire country is trying to return to normalcy after the COVID-19 pandemic, Maharashtra’s capital Mumbai is still reeling under the pressure of a rise in COVID-19 cases. The spike in coronavirus cases has now forced the Maharashtra government and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to ponder over fresh lockdown measures.
In its mouthpiece Saamana on Wednesday, Shiv Sena described the situation in Maharashtra as “worrying and serious”.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray gauged the seriousness of the situation on Tuesday during his meeting with Health Minister Rajesh Tope, all district collectors, state COVID-19 Task Force, municipal commissioners, police, and senior health officials.
Lockdown in Mumbai?
As Mumbai is still witnessing a steep rise in COVID-19 cases, the talk of another lockdown is gaining momentum. During Tuesday’s meeting, the Maharashtra Chief Minister had said: “People have become carefree. It is for the people to decide if they want a lockdown or want to continue living with the small restrictions like now.”
Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar had yesterday warned that the Maharashtra government could impose a “second lockdown” in the city. This is to be noted that Shiv Sena, in its mouthpiece Saamana today, underlined that “lockdown will be the last step”.
While talking to the media on Tuesday, the Mumbai Mayor had said that the rising coronavirus cases in the city have become a matter of concern for the civic body and the state government.
“We could face another lockdown, but it is in the hands of citizens to avoid it by following the COVID-19 protocol, which they had abided by under the state government’s My family My Responsibility’ program,” the Mayor had said.
The authorities are also reviewing their decision to reopen schools in the city.
In the meantime, BMC Additional Municipal Commissioner (Health) Suresh Kakani said that the Corporation will review the increase in COVID-19 cases in Mumbai. If the rise continues, the BMC will not hesitate in taking a strong measure within the next 10 days, said Kakani.
The number of cases coming from Mumbai’s M-West ward that covers Chembur has left the authorities worried. New guidelines have been issued to societies and hawkers have been directed to undergo COVID-19 tests.
The ward is now recording over 25 cases every day, which makes its daily COVID-19 growth rate at 0.28 percent, higher than Mumbai’s average growth rate of 0.14 percent.
The BMC has issued the following guidelines to 550 housing societies in the ward:
- Society must restrict the entry of outsiders to a minimum including maids/milkman etc
- Measures like thermal screening to be strictly implemented
- Positive cases, if any in society, to follow strict quarantine guidelines by the family for 14 days; others in the family to get tested compulsorily
- High-risk contacts and any other symptomatic person in society to get checked for COVID-19 through MCGM
- As per the notice, the BMC has begun sealing buildings and societies that are reporting high COVID-19 cases.
COVID cases in Mumbai
Mumbai on Tuesday reported 461 new COVID-19 cases, taking the tally in the city to 3,15,030. The death toll stands at 11,423. On Monday, Mumbai had registered 493 new infections after reporting more than 500 cases for five consecutive days since February 10.
Here are the possible reasons that could have contributed to a surge in COVID-19 cases in Mumbai:
- Violation of basic SOPs: The three-point program of social distancing, wearing masks, and sanitizing hands regularly is not being adhered to by most of the people, said Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar. During his meeting on Tuesday, the Maharashtra CM too pointed out that the decreasing number of coronavirus cases had resulted in laxity among the citizens. The BMC has caught more than 15 lakh people without face masks at public places in Mumbai since April 2020 and collected over Rs 30 crore as a fine from them.
- Increase in the number of suburban services: The Mumbai Division of Railways and the BMC have fined 4,618 train passengers between 1st February and 14th February for not wearing face masks. As per the Chief Public Relation Officers (CPRO), Western Railway, the Mumbai division of Railways in a joint drive with the BMC collected a total penalty of Rs 3,28,500 from 2,558 passengers for not wearing a face mask while traveling on the train.
- As per the Western Railway CPRO, 2,558 passengers in Mumbai were fined between 1st to 14th February for not wearing masks. A total penalty of Rs 3,28,500 was collected from the violators. Local trains were opened with restrictions for the general commuters from February 1. However, in the past one week alone, the MMR region has recorded a staggering 950-plus average increase in new cases daily.
- Resumption of all other activities
The path ahead
- Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray has directed that contingency zones should be made in areas where the number of cases is rising.
- Local bodies must disinfect all public places, parks, toilets, bus stands, etc.
- COVID-19 tests in target areas
- Identifying at least 20 contacts of individual patients
- All business organizations and associations should ensure that the SOPs are being followed and implemented
- Police permission required for marriage functions. Banquet/hall owners will be booked if they permit anyone without masks.