As Mumbai’s M-West ward is reporting a significant increase in new COVID-19 cases, the local ward office issued new guidelines on Monday, Feb 15 to societies in the ward while also directing hawkers to undergo coronavirus testing. Local civic officials have also discussed the likelihood of “imposition of local lockdown measures” to reduce the number of cases.
This comes as the M-West ward was only reporting around 15 daily new cases as of last week. It has now jumped to more than 25 daily cases, leading to some concern. It’s also worth mentioning that this ward, which also covers Chembur, is reporting a high volume of cases from high-rises and other upmarket residential societies.
The daily COVID-19 growth rate of the M-West ward is currently 0.28 per cent which is higher than Mumbai’s average growth rate of 0.14 per cent. Ward officials said that the surge in cases in the region can be attributed to negligence on the part of the citizens with many believed to be violating the guidelines set by the Central and State Governments.
With this in mind, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has issued newer guidelines to residential societies in the ward with the subject line reading – “Appeal/Instructions to all societies to follow strict covid guidelines.”
The notice lists out five basic guidelines that housing societies need to adopt. “Your society will restrict entry of outsiders to minimum including maids/milk man etc; measures like thermal screening to be strictly implemented; positive cases, if any in society, to follow strict quarantine guidelines by family for 14 days; others in the family to get tested compulsorily as high-risk contacts and any other symptomatic person in society to get checked for Covid through MCGM,” the guidelines said.
The notice goes on to say that the BMC has resumed sealing buildings and societies which have a higher volume of COVID-19 cases, hoping to convince residents to follow rules more strictly.
Speaking on the civic body’s decision to screen residents for COVID-19 in the region, Assistant Municipal Commissioner of the M-West ward, Prithviraj Chauhan said, “We have also started a house-to-house survey. We are getting cases of group infection where seven-eight people from the same family have tested positive for the virus. It is the responsibility of the public to follow safety rules.”
“Weddings and family functions are turning into super spreader events,” he added. As for the possibility of a new lockdown coming into effect in the ward, he said that a final call has to be taken by the BMC.
The ward officer has recommended vaccinating the elderly in the region as soon as possible while saying that Additional Municipal Commissioner will consider the matter and make a final call this week.
Testing of hawkers and shopkeepers in the region is underway since Feb 14. Medical Officer of Health (MOH), M-West, Dr Bhupendra Patil said, “Just like the past, we have started focusing on places that get a high number of people. So, we are testing hawkers from ‘khao gallies’ and vegetable sellers.”
Mumbai recorded 600 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, Feb 14, while Maharashtra recorded more than 3,000 cases of the virus on Feb 15.
Explaining the rising number of cases in Mumbai, Additional Municipal Commissioner of the BMC, Suresh Kakani said – “On a daily basis, we are conducting over 15,000 tests, which is contributing to new Covid-19 cases. Opening local trains for everyone can also be a factor, but it would be too early to say so. We have to wait for another week to make an assessment.”