NEW DELHI: The Centre said that led by Maharashtra government and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), efforts to actively ‘chase the virus’ in Dharavi and aggressive targeted tracing of Covid suspects, the densely populated area has witnessed a steep decline in infection.
The proactive measures adopted by BMC reduced the growth rate to 4.3% in May and further to 1.02% in June.
The Centre praised the Maharashtra government and the Mumbai civic body on Sunday for "actively" chasing the novel coronavirus in Dharavi through aggressive targeted contact tracing which led to a significant decline in Covid-19 growth rate to 1.02% per cent in June from 12% in April.
The health ministry also lauded the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for ensuring a steep decline of daily Covid-19 cases in Dharavi from an average of 43 in May to 19 in the third week of June.
In April, Dharavi had 491 cases with a 12% growth rate and a case doubling period of 18 days. However, with several measures undertake by state government and local authorities doubling time improved to 43 days in May and 78 days in June, health ministry said.
Noting that several states have implemented these containment strategies and produced effective outcomes, the Centre said the efforts of the Maharashtra government and the BMC had shown encouraging results.
"As part of these efforts, they have actively chased the virus and aggressively conducted targeted tracing of COVID suspects," the ministry said.
Pointing out the challenges faced by the BMC in Dharavi – Asia’s largest slum, the ministry said 80% of the population here depends on community toilets. About 8-10 people live in households or hutment that measures about 10/10 feet, coupled with existence of narrow lanes with two-three-storey houses where often the ground floor is a house and other floors are used as factories, the statement said.
Hence, there were severe limitations of physical distancing with no possibility of effective ''home quarantine'', it said.
The BMC adopted a model of actively following the four T''s – tracing, tracking, testing and treating, the ministry said.
This approach included activities like proactive screening and while 47,500 people were covered by doctors and private clinics in house-to-house screening, about 14,970 people were screened with the help of mobile vans, and 4,76,775 were surveyed by BMC health workers.
"Fever clinics were set up for screening high risk category such as elderly/senior citizens. This helped to screen 3.6 lakh people. Also, around 8246 senior citizens were surveyed and as part of its policy of ''timely separation'', they were separated from the other community to effectively limit the transmission of the disease," the ministry said.
To tackle the issue of manpower to carry out proactive screening in high risk zones, the BMC forged strategic public private partnerships in containment measures and all available private practitioners were mobilised, the ministry said.
As the option of home quarantine could not effectively produce the desired outcomes due to the space limitations in the congested area, institutional quarantine facilities were created in all available schools, marriage halls, sports complexes, etc, the ministry said.
Only critical patients were moved outside Dharavi for admission to hospitals and 90% of the patients were treated inside Dharavi itself, the ministry said.