In the Mumbai Metropolitan Region minus Mumbai, the municipal areas of Thane and Navi Mumbai, which for all practical purposes act as extensions of Mumbai rather than separate cities, are the worst hit, with 113 and 87 deaths, respectively. The municipal stretches of Mira-Bhayander (48), Kalyan-Dombivli (34) and Vasai-Virar (33) are the other bad spots.
Doctors and politicians in the satellite cities blame their high Covid-19 tally and toll on proximity to Mumbai. “Many healthcare professionals from the Vasai-Virar belt who work in Mumbai have tested positive,” said a corporator from the region. A doctor said most new patients in Mira-Bhayander have a travel history to Mumbai. In Thane, doctors blame the cases on a family and neighbours.
Though it has been almost three months since the virus hit MMR, the infrastructure to combat it is still inadequate. NMMC corporator from Vashi, Divya Gaikwad, said, “We are not happy with the current Covid-19 situation in our municipality primarily because of a shortage of beds and also an absence of failure to maintain social distancing. Thane’s deputy municipal commissioner Sandeep Malvi said, “Every day, we come across 30-60 high risk contacts as many of the affected wards are highly congested.” Thane city recorded an increase after the bodies of two patients were handed over for cremation, leading to an outbreak among an independent testing laboratory specifically for Navi Mumbai.” A 1,000-bed facility at the Cidco Exhibition Centre in Vashi is still not ready. “We were earlier sending our patients outside NMMC to the India Bulls facility in Panvel, which was impractical and expensive. There should be more coordination among city hospitals regarding information on the availability of beds,” said Gaikwad.
An MLA from Kalyan Rural, Pramod Patil, said people are worried about getting timely treatment in hospital. “Even ambulances reach late to take patients to hospitals.”
In Vasai-Virar, municipal commissioner Gangatharan D said a Covid care centre will be ready in Vasai (East) by next week. And a dedicated Covid-19 hospital will be ready by August in Virar.