Areas in the northwest of Mumbai, comprising R (north, south, central) and P (north, south) wards, have seen a marked reduction in the daily number of new Covid-19 cases, BMC officials told Mirror on Thursday. R North ward includes Dahisar, while R Central includes Borivali, R South Kandivali, P North Malad, and P South Goregaon. They have a combined population of about 30 lakh.
Additional Commissioner (western suburbs) Suresh Kakani said, “We are on the path to bringing Covid-19 under control. Over the next four to five days we will see a receding trend.” He said R South ward is now seeing around 70 new cases a day from a peak of 114 three weeks ago; R Central also has around 70 new cases a day from a peak of 116; and R North has around 25 new cases every day, down from 53. He added the situation is similar in P South ward, which now sees around 40 new cases daily, down from 83; and in P North, which sees around 100 new cases a day, from a peak of 130.
Kakani said the situation in the western suburbs was quite grim about three weeks ago, and that he had visited many areas there over the past three weekends. Municipal Commissioner I S Chahal also visited the western suburbs once during this period.
Deputy Municipal Commissioner V V Shankarwar, who oversees R North, R Central and R South wards, said improvement was due to intensive door-to-door screening efforts. He said, “The Bharatiya Jain Sanghatana donated vans and provided doctors due to which we could conduct door-to-door screening and camps. We also did rapid antigen tests on all those who were in institutional quarantine in R South and the positivity rate was just four per cent.”
Shankarwar cautioned that despite the improvement, the growth rate in these areas remained high. As of July 8, when Mumbai’s growth rate was 1.49 per cent, the growth rate was 2.9 per cent in R Central, 2.7 per cent in R South, 2.5 per cent in R North, 2 per cent in P North, and 1.7 per cent in P South. Asked why these areas had higherthan-average growth rates, Shankarwar said this was because both the overall number of cases and the population of these areas were relatively low.
He said that while the doubling rate in R Central and R North wards has increased from 18 to 25 days over the past fortnight, the doubling rate in R South has remained constant at once every 33 days. Shankarwar’s zone – R North, R South and R Central wards – have a population of 15.5 lakh. Kakani, too, cautioned against complacency. “We will have to undertake stringent measures for another 10 days. We can’t afford to relax,” he said.
BJP MP Gopal Shetty of north Mumbai said, “Things are quite under control. The BMC has taken many good steps and the police have also done a good job.”