Additional municipal commissioner Suresh Kakani on Saturday said Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had no plans for a lockdown in Mumbai for now and would instead focus on two interventions — increased testing and treatment, and strict implementation of face masks in public places.
Mumbai recorded 897 new Covid cases on Saturday taking total count to 20.93 lakh. Fatality due to Covid-19, however, remained constant at 3 on Saturday. BMC has sealed 1,305 buildings or floors across Mumbai to contain 71,838 households. At least 2,749 Covid-19 cases have been found across these houses and can affect 2.75 lakh population in vicinity. Maximum sealed floors and building are in T ward (233) covering Mulund followed by Ghatkopar in N ward and Goregaon (P South) (125) and Malabar Hill (D ward) where 110 buildings are sealed.
Deaths may rise in the coming days given the spike in cases, say doctors.
“Lockdown is not an option in Mumbai. But we are preparing for the worst. I have instructed all jumbo facilities to inspect ventilators, para-monitors, housekeeping, medicines, supplies, oxygen, fire equipment and security so that when patients increase they are prepared to start admitting at once,” Kakani said.
Mumbai has 11,968 isolation beds, of them close to 9,000 are vacant across government and private hospitals. In addition, NESCO jumbo facility has 3,000 beds ready, of them till now only 1,700 have been activated; in BKC jumbo facility an extra 700 beds are ready and can be activated at a short notice. Private hospitals contribute 2,523 beds and only 779 are presently filled with Covid-19 patients.
“We were earlier planning to allow private hospitals to reduce their isolation beds, but with rise in cases that relaxation is on hold for now. The 80:20 ratio continues for now,” Kakani said. Of the isolation beds reserved in each private hospital, 80 per cent Covid patients are charged on government rates and rest 20 per cent as per hospital rates.
In Bombay hospital, consultant Dr Gautam Bhansali said they have 100 beds reserved for Covid-19 patients.
“Private hospitals are willing to increase beds if required. All are complying with 80:20 ratio for charging patients. In Bombay hospital, 100 per cent isolation beds are charged at government rates,” he said.
Bhansali, however, added that there is a need to speed up vaccination to cover a large population quickly and immunise them.
Across Maharashtra, 6,281 new cases were recorded, double of daily cases in January. In a worrying trend, Amravati exceeded Mumbai on Saturday and recorded 1,055 new cases. Nagpur recorded 717 cases and Akola 348 cases.
Dr Subhash Salunkhe, advisor to state on Covid-19, said he has noticed a sudden surge in Amravati and Akola in last few days and said inter-district travel could lead to spike all over the state. “The trend indicates intense transmission in both urban and rural areas. There is an acute need expressed by doctors and common citizens who are above 50 and have co-morbidities for access to the vaccine. It is beyond comprehension why vaccine, which is first step to primary prevention and is available, is denied because MoHFW is failing to develop appropriate IT platform or its application,” Salunkhe said, speaking about the glitches with Co-WIN app that has slowed down vaccination.
Meanwhile while several districts in Vidarbha have adopted minor lockdowns and market restrictions to control the surge in coronavirus, Mumbai is focussing on containment zones and implementation of face masks.
On Friday, BMC penalised 13,592 people for not wearing masks in public places, and collected fine up to Rs 27.18 lakh.
Officials with solid waste management department have been directed to increase scrutiny and ensure people comply with face mask rule.
In trains and local stations a special squad of 300 officials has been formed to check for compliance by commuters.
At least 1,253 people were penalised in Andheri West (K West) where a lot of cafes and pubs are located, followed by Andheri East (K-East) where 918 people were fined and Kurla (L ward) where 902 people were penalised on Friday.
Till date BMC has penalised 15.71 lakh people in Mumbai and collected Rs 31.7 crore fine.
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