Maharashtra crosses 90,000 Covid-19 case mark

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Maharashtra crossed the 90,000 mark of Covid-19 cases with 2,259 new infections reported on Tuesday even as authorities in Mumbai expressed concern about the spread of the virus in the western suburbs of the coastal city.

The case tally in the state stood at 90,787. Tuesday was ninth day when the state recorded more than 100 deaths in one day. Mumbai recorded 58 deaths, taking its toll of fatalities to 1,638. The city logged 1,015 cases on Tuesday, taking its case tally to 51,110

As part of ‘Mission Begin Again’ to unlock restrictions in phases, the state government has allowed private offices in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) to operate at 10% of its workforce or 10 employees (whichever is higher) from Monday.

This relaxation, along with the resumption of Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) bus services, saw more people and traffic snarls on roads in the city. Last week, the state also allowed physical activities such as jogging, running and non-essential shops to operate on alternate days in red zones (excluding containment areas).

“We are closely monitoring the situation as cases may surge following maximum relaxations in lockdown given so far even in red zones. We are more worried of second wave that has hit countries like China and South Korea following relaxations. It will spark panic among people and the state may have to reconsider its decision on giving relaxations,” said a senior minister, wishing not to be named.

The current situation of Covid-19 was discussed in the state cabinet meeting held on Tuesday evening. ‘We are also expecting curve to flatten by this month end if things remained under our control. After this, decline in cases will start,” added the minister.

But there was a new cause for concern in Mumbai.

While the average growth rate of Covid-19 cases in the city dipped to 2.93 per cent, three wards in the western suburbs covering areas like Malad, Kandivali, Borivali and Dahisar presented a problem for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). While the rate of growth of the disease across the city was between one and four per cent, the rate in wards PN (Malad), RS (Kandivali, RN (Dahisar, Borivali) stood above five per cent.

According to the BMC’s data, three wards -- covering Malad, Kandivali, Dahisar and parts of Borivali -- have over 4,000 Covid-19 cases.

According to BMC officials, the growth rate in these three wards is high given that cases are now being reported from pockets in the city that had no cases initially. A BMC official said, “The recovering rate of the three wards including PN, RN and RS is also between 25 to 33 per cent which indicates that the cases have increased in the past few days.”

Sanjay Kurhade, assistant municipal commissioner of RS Ward that covers Kandivali, said, “It is a universal strategy for tracing more, quarantining and testing more focused suspects, and due to this there is no separate strategy as such, but the growth rate is high also because we are having pockets where there were no cases earlier, but we are having cases now. Hence, our focus on such areas.”

Kurhade added, “Slums are having a major chunk of focus when it comes to tracing and quarantining maximum people. There were few slum pockets where the downfall has started and things are under control there, but new pockets are emerging that are in a way contributing to the increased growth rate. Our focus currently is on areas like Poisar and Hanuman Nagar where cases have started reporting.”

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