Seventy coronavirus patients in Mumbai are listed as “missing” in the records of its civic body Brihanmumbai Corporation (BMC), which has asked for help from the police to track them down.
The issue came to light when many people who had tested positive for COVID-19 could not be contacted on the listed phone numbers or on their home address.
After BMC released the list, it was discovered that one of the phone numbers given alongside the name of a “missing” patient was actually that of its own officer.
All cases of missing patients have been reported from north Mumbai’s Malad area, which is among the worst affected parts of the city.
The situation puts the patients of the highly infectious disease and those who come in contact with them at great risk of developing severe symptoms.
Stating that people should not fear the worst, Maharashtra cabinet minister, who is also the guardian minister of Mumbai, Aslam Shaikh said, “Yes, we are not being able to contact some Covid patients, but they have not fled. We track all patients who have recovered, their high-risk contacts and relatives. It is possible that there may have been a mistake in noting their phone numbers or in noting their address; a lot of areas mentioned in addresses are of slums. There is a chance that some may be migrant workers and may have left after getting treatment.”
Mumbai police spokesperson and deputy commissioner of police Pranay Ashok confirmed that the BMC has sought their assistance in tracing these patients.
“This list has been shared with the police. Related ward officers and police are working together. We have been tracing all those people who test positive so they can be guided about the correct line of treatment,” he said.
P North ward committee president Vinod Mishra, who is also a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party in the state, said the situation was an example of mismanagement.
“The BMC has issued death certificates to people. When I called some people on the list, many had sought treatment and recovered; one has even died,” he said.
Mumbai, with more than 67,000 cases and 3,311 deaths, has been the worst-hit city by COVID-19.