There was mixed reaction among doctors, healthcare experts and bureaucrats on whether the lockdown worked in the city with a population of 12 million squeezed into a habitable area of only 120 sq km. Mumbai accounts for 65% of the state’s cases. “Implementation of the lockdown in Mumbai was not done effectively. Even till two days ago, we saw traffic at toll nakas. Also, slums in Mumbai are still a concern and an effective mechanism has not yet been worked out,” said a senior official.
Senior bureaucrats said good results have been seen in places where the lockdown was implemented effectively. One of them cited the example of Islampur in Sangli that reported 26 cases killing the threat with a very effective containment plan. Too many things in Mumbai were left till the very last, they complained.
Govt cites more labs, lower fatality rates to critics
The fatality rate that was quite high in the state as well as the city, hovering about 7% last week, was also a cause for concern at the national level. Tope said the case fatality rate has been brought down to 5% and less currently.
A senior civic official said Mumbai should have announced the lockdown at least a month before the others. “We are an international hub, but we didn’t stop air traffic till the rest of the country did. Dubai or UAE were not even on the list of high-risk countries till March 14-15. So thousands, several of them slumdwellers, came from the Middle East and entered the dense pockets,” he said. BMC commissioner Pravin Pardeshi has said in multiple interviews that many positive cases in Dharavi were traced to travellers coming from the UAE and also people who attended the Tablighi Markaz in Delhi.
Mumbai’s civic administration has also come under criticism for flip-flops in the testing criteria. On April 12, as cases rose steadily, it decided to stop testing high-risk asymptomatic contacts. After criticism, it reverted. On the ground though, the two circulars in a span of three days caused massive confusion among the workers.
More on Covid-19
A decision to audit deaths and the formation of a task force on April 15 too has been viewed with scepticism. A senior doctor said: “Death criteria and discharge protocols are still in the making even as we are in the 46th day of tackling the epidemic.”
The civic body’s attempts to ramp up Covid care facilities have also been sputtering. Till a few days ago, the only excusive Covid-19 hospital was the 420-bed SevenHills Hospital in Marol. Over the last few weeks, it has roped in several private hospitals, such as Saifee, Nanavati, among others, to work as dedicated Covid hospitals. The count of beds in such facilities is now 1,500.
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