As the number of Covid-19 cases has gone up drastically in the city over the last two weeks, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal on Thursday said that the spike in cases cannot be called a ‘second wave’. Chahal was speaking at Hospital Tech 2020 – a virtual event organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
Replying to a question on whether the spike can be called a second wave, Chahal said, “I would like to reassure citizens that the spike in cases cannot be termed as a second wave at all. We have to understand that we have increased the number of testing in September. From 7,000 to 9,000 tests daily, now we are conducting around 15,000 or even more tests. If we bring down the number of tests, we might again have lesser cases.”
Chahal added, “We can call it a stimulated spike, and this was done because we were in a position to handle more patients daily, with a sufficient number of beds and required infrastructure.”
On Thursday, HT had reported how the number of cases has gone up drastically in September compared to August. In the same period, the number of deaths has decreased.
The number of Covid-19 cases in the city rose 104% to 40,957 (September 1-22) from 20,031 (August 1-22), according to state health department data. The number of deaths dropped to 862 in September, from 990 in August during the same period.
Stressing on several issues ranging from testing, tracing and treating to augmentation of health infrastructure, Chahal also emphasised the importance of wearing masks, social distancing and practising hygiene norms.
On the question of when life in Mumbai can return to normal, Chahal said that it depended on how citizens deal with the situation now. “When normal days can be back is something I will keep for the citizens to decide. The more responsible we are, the sooner we will have normal days back. For this, we need to follow all norms like wearing mask, social distancing, etc. I still find people not wearing masks,” the civic chief said.
Chahal said that the civic body will continue to be cautious about lifting restrictions. “Next on our platter are gyms and restaurants, and we are talking about how they can be opened with 1/3rd capacity. We want to unlock responsibly and we are doing it, rather than opening everything and shutting them again,” he said.