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As Mumbai’s Covid cases see 5-fold spurt in month, BMC intensifies testing-vaccination push

BMC warns of symptomatic cases increasing with onset of monsoon. Maharashtra Health Minister Tope says govt monitoring situation, but no need to panic as hospitalisation rate low.

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Mumbai: Mumbai has seen an over five-fold increase in daily Covid-19 cases in the past one month, recording 506 new cases Tuesday, the highest in the last four months, according to civic body data.

Warning that symptomatic cases may rise further with the onset of monsoon, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) issued an advisory Wednesday, directing its staff to be alert, increase testing “on war footing” and push harder for vaccination of the 12-18 age group apart from booster doses.

On 1 May, 92 Covid cases were recorded in the city, which jumped to 506 on 31 May, according to BMC records. The Maharashtra government had lifted all Covid restrictions, including the mask mandate, on 2 April, when the state celebrated ‘Gudi Padwa’.

Tuesday’s tally of 506 cases is the highest since February 6, when the number stood at 536 according to civic body data. Mumbai’s positivity rate currently stands at 6 per cent. 

“We have sent samples for genome sequencing. The results will come in the next couple of days. Only then will we be able to say what is the reason for this rise — whether it’s a new variant or something. But hospitalisation is low. So not to worry much (sic),” Additional Municipal Commissioner Dr. Sanjeev Kumar told ThePrint. 

Speaking to mediapersons in the city Wednesday, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said there was no need to panic, but advised greater vigilance going ahead. 

“Out of 36 districts in Maharashtra, only Mumbai and Pune are seeing a rise in number of cases, but nothing to worry as such since the rate of hospitalisation is low,” he added.

Asked about the BMC’s advisory, Tope said, “The necessary arrangements are in place and there is no harm in keeping everything ready. The health department is monitoring the situation.”

Also Read: Raipur worst, Delhi bad, Mumbai best in mask-wearing amid Covid surge, finds think-tank study

Field hospitals, ambulances & ward war rooms to be kept ready

Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Chahal has directed BMC officials in all wards to ensure that jumbo field hospitals (makeshift Covid hospitals built during the first and second waves) are kept adequately staffed and on alert. Private hospitals have been instructed to do the same.

Hospital staff and ambulances have also been told to be ready for possible hospitalisations.

“Assistant commissioners in charge of wards must take daily reviews of Covid situation in their wards and make strong intervention wherever required,” Chahal said in his note, which also said that Covid ‘ward war rooms’ must be monitored consistently.

The note further instructed assistant commissioners to visit jumbo hospitals in their jurisdictions to ensure they are monsoon ready with dewatering pumps, structural stability, certifications, fire safety mechanisms, house-keeping, catering, paramedical and medical staff, oxygen manufacturing plants and medicines.

(Edited by Gitanjali Das)

Also Read: Mumbai Covid cases up over 6 times, BMC to test all infections for Omicron till 31 December


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