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With 5% or less positivity rate, Mumbai could finally be surfacing from Covid nightmare

Mumbai, one of India's worst Covid-affected cities for most of the pandemic, has registered a dip in new cases, but city authorities are still keeping vigil to avoid a second wave.

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Mumbai: For the past one week, Mumbai, which has been one of the cities most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, has been reporting a test positivity rate of five per cent or less, indicating that the disease could be on the decline in India’s financial capital.

In the past fortnight, the number of new cases per day have almost halved to around 750  from the over 1,200, with the number of active cases being contained at about 12,000.

Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner at the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said, “Things are now under control, but we are continuing with the same precautionary protocol till 31 December. We cannot comment on the possibility of a second wave just yet. The traffic and crowding on roads is only increasing. We aren’t ruling out a second wave.”

Mumbai has been one of India’s worst-hit cities with positivity rates going as high as 20 per cent in the first six months of the pandemic. However, serological surveys indicated that a large percentage of both the city’s slum and non-slum population have already developed Covid antibodies.

Also read: Covid hotspot Mumbai spent poorly on health in last 3 years, NGO report says

Positivity under 5% significant by WHO norms

Mumbai’s steep drop in the test positivity ratio is significant considering the World Health Organization (WHO) had in May recommended that the positivity rate should remain below five per cent for at least two weeks before governments can consider reopening.

According to data from the BMC, Mumbai reported a positivity rate of 4.2 per cent on Wednesday with 716 new cases out of 16,789 tests that day. On Tuesday, the positivity was at 4 per cent with 585 new cases out of 14,513 tests.

In comparison, Maharashtra’s test positivity rate was 6.19 per cent on Wednesday with the state having reported 4,025 new cases out of 64,980 tests conducted. Pune, which is the other city in the state that features prominently on India’s Covid map, has a test positivity rate of 9.1 per cent. It reported 338 new cases out of 3,708 tests Wednesday. Meanwhile, Nashik city reported a test positivity rate of 15.7 per cent on Wednesday.

Mumbai’s test positivity rate first dropped to 5 per cent Thursday last week when the civic body reported 823 positive cases out of 15,832 tests conducted, giving a positivity rate of 5.20 per cent. Since then, daily testing has remained in the range of 10,475-16,789, and the positivity rate has hovered between 4 per cent and 5.20 per cent.

Graphic by Ramandeep Kaur | ThePrint
Graphic by Ramandeep Kaur | ThePrint

Mumbai has so far recorded 2,87,891 Covid-positive cases, of which 11,903 were active as of Wednesday. The city has also recorded 10,935 Covid deaths, and has cumulatively conducted 20.3 lakh Covid tests.

Also read: Health data centre, rental housing for migrants — How Mumbai can recover from Covid hit

BMC to keep up aggressive testing despite dip

Generally, as the number of new Covid-positive cases dips, the number of tests also drop as there are fewer high-risk contacts for upfront testing. However, the BMC plans to ramp up testing to ensure that there is no sudden spike in new cases.

“There is reverse migration happening in the city as people are coming back (due to a) drop in Covid cases. So, we cannot let our guard down,”  Kakani told ThePrint.

“We are trying to test as many people as possible, focusing on airports, railway stations, hawkers and grocery shop owners. Our ward level teams are proactively reaching these groups for Covid tests.”

With a large number of people now travelling by public transport, the BMC is also conducting testing camps for bus drivers and conductors besides police personnel and conservancy workers.

Over the last three months, the civic body also sent teams door-to-door to conduct basic checks for symptoms, temperature and pulse under Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s pet ‘My Family, My Responsibility’ campaign. Kakani said civic teams are now being sent to cover the nearly 20,000 houses in Mumbai that were found shut during the first survey.

Moreover, the BMC does not plan to take away any medical resources set aside for Covid immediately. As of now, Mumbai has 16,593 Covid beds of which 11,638 are vacant. Of these, 835 of the 1,917 ICU beds and 411 of the city’s 1,145 ventilator beds for Covid care are vacant.

Also read: Mumbai collects nearly Rs 3 crore in fines from people without masks during Navratri


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  1. TS Darbari – Covid-19 pandemic is the biggest problem facing the nation currently, according to the India Today-Karvy Insights Ltd Mood of the Nation (MOTN) poll. Government of India is taking all necessary steps to ensure that we are prepared well to face the challenge and threat posed by the growing pandemic of COVID-19 the Corona Virus. With active support of the people of India, we have been able to contain the spread of the Virus in our country. The most important factor in preventing the spread of the Virus locally is to empower the citizens with the right information and taking precautions as per the advisories being issued by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. #Ts_Darbari_Blog #TS_Darbari_News #Ts_Darbari_Views #Ts_Darbari_Blogger #TS_Darbari_Comments #Ts_Darbari_Opinion #About_TS_Darbari #TS_Darbari_Articles #Politics #Views #Comments

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