Officials said they expect a surge in infections next week with Ganeshotsav coming to an end. “With travel curbs eased, many people have travelled to meet their families and have started returning. It is likely cases could increase,” a state official said.
No surge in cases in areas close to pandals, says BMC
Local factors, too, could contribute to the increase, if it happens. A doctor at a civic hospital said nine officials of a Ganesh pandal in Parel tested positive last week. “People don’t observe social distancing norms or use face masks properly. If Mumbai witnesses a second wave, it would only be because of failure to adhere to such norms,” the doctor said.
TOI spoke to the three leading Ganpati mandals of Lalbaug-Parel. It turns out all have had karyakartas or officials who have been afflicted by the virus “but since they have recovered, they are visiting pandals for brief durations”.
Lalbaugcha Raja mandal president Balasaheb Kamble said, “We do not have a moorti this year so crowds are absent. But we have over 2,000 volunteers, and given the spread of the virus, it was natural some of them were infected. But after they tested negative, 30-40 returned to donate plasma at our health camp. We are careful to maintain social distancing and sanitise the health camp beds and furniture every hour.”
A functionary at Ganesh Gully mandal had tested positive along with his family. “But he recovered two weeks ago,” said secretary Swapnil Parab. “Other karyakartas also tested positive but are doing well now and have completed the quarantine period. None of our workers is ill at present. Those who have recovered are back to work, but many only visit the mandap for brief periods. We check body temperature at the entrance,” he added.
The spokesperson of the Chinchpokli Cha Chintamani mandal was treated for coronavirus and discharged on August 18. “I suffered from fever and tested positive for Covid-19. I was admitted to a hospital in Vikhroli and discharged. My family and I are observing 14-day isolation and wearing masks and gloves. I have now tested negative. I am only taking online darshan,” he said.
BMC officials, however, said a surge in cases due to Ganpati festivities was unlikely. AMC Suresh Kakani said civic officials have not noticed any surge in areas near public pandals. “Our daily cases have remained steady at 1,200 cases on an average. We are testing more, and people are following rules of social distancin,” he said. A ward official from the suburbs said, ”Ganpati mandals are taking all the required precautions to avoid crowds. They allow only a few people into the pandals during prayers.”