Mumbai News

Mumbai faces community spread threat – Mint

Mumbai and its suburbs, including popular weekend tourist destinations, have seen an alarming rise in covid-19 cases following the easing of lockdown restrictions. Authorities say this is primarily because the public has not taken the threat of the pandemic seriously, despite the 8,323 covid-related deaths in the city.

“Community spread has happened. So, our focus is on how to provide treatment at an early stage so that we can control the number of deaths,” said a health department official, requesting anonymity.

The Maharashtra government has repeatedly warned of strict action to deter people from unnecessary travel, but little seemed to have worked.

For instance, authorities in Lonavala, a popular hill station around 83km from Mumbai, have so far filed 1,650 cases for violation of lockdown rules, but there has been a steady rise in tourists since 1 June.

On Friday, Mumbai added 2,283 fresh cases for violation of lockdown rules, a day after the city reported its highest single day jump so far. The total number of such cases in the city stands at 180,668.

Cases have been on the rise since the beginning of this month, in line with the expectations of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation officials after the lockdown was lifted. “We had anticipated a spike in cases as people no longer wanted to be cooped up at home. Despite warnings, many still do not wear masks or practise social distancing,” said a senior government official, also seeking anonymity.

To curb the rise in cases, the Mumbai Police on Thursday imposed Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, making the assembly of more than four people unlawful , till 30 September.

Maharashtra, which began lifting the restrictions imposed to contain the spread of coronavirus from 3 June under “Mission Begin Again”, has seen the steepest rise in cases in the last two weeks with the positivity rate in the first fortnight of September at 20-28%, compared with its overall positivity rate of 20.29%. On 16 August, the positivity rate in the state was at 18.84%, while on 16 September it rose to 20.36%. The surge in covid cases is also due to increased testing, the official added.

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