Ministry lauds BMC’s efforts in curbing spread of Covid-19 in Dharavi

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on June 22, 2020

A doctor wearing a protective gear takes a swab from a woman to test for coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Dharavi, one of Asia's largest slums, in Mumbai. (file photo)   -  REUTERS

Growth rate of infection in the densely populated slum area of Mumbai has dropped to 1 per cent

The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare on Sunday lauded the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation for the strong measure it has taken to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the slum area of Dharavi in Mumbai.

The Ministry said the rate of growth in Dharavi had dropped to 4.3 per cent in May and now stood at only 1.02 per cent, Livemint reported.

The measures had also improved the case doubling time to 43 days in May and to 78 days in June, it said.

Dharavi, Asia's largest slum, is a densely populated area with 2,27,136 people per square kilometre. It reported 491 cases in April with a 12 per cent growth rate, and case doubling period of 18 days.

According to a Bloomberg report published earlier this month, state authorities had gone door-to-door, testing around 47,500 families since April. They checked temperatures and oxygen levels, screened almost 700,000 people in the slum cluster and set up fever clinics.

Those showing symptoms associated with Covid-19 were quarantined in nearby schools and sports clubs that were converted into quarantine centres.

Dharavi, which was designated a Covid-19 hotspot, had recorded only seven new cases on Saturday,the lowest such rise in a single day, a Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) official said.

Dharavi's case count now stands at 2,158. The number of fatalities stands at 80, after one more person succumbed to the infection in the last 24 hours.

Of the 2,158 cases, 1,057 patients had recovered and had been discharged from hospitals, the Livemint report added.

There has been a significant drop in cases over the past one month, officials said, adding that the lowest tally of 10 was recorded on June 6.

“We knew if the virus spread further, it would be catastrophic. So, our team of Mahim Dharavi Medical Practitioners’ Association and members of the Indian Medical Association, together with 25 doctors, roamed the hotspots of Dharavi for 10 days testing thousands of residents," Dr Shivkumar Utture, a general surgeon practising in the area, told Mint.

“While in April, only two or three clinics were open in Dharavi, now we have over 100 clinics. This gave us the strength to detect more cases," Utture said.

“Our aggressive testing and screening of people through fever clinics has helped in tackling this challenge," Kiran Dighavkar, assistant municipal commissioner of G-North ward covering Dharavi, told Mint.

Published on June 22, 2020

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