The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will soon increase the bed capacity for COVID-19 treatment at its facilities to one lakh in view of the rising number of cases of the disease in the city, civic commissioner IS Chahal said on Sunday.
He also said the civic body is not going to take over premises of the Wankhede stadium for quarantine facility, as open grounds will not be useful for the purpose during the upcoming monsoon.
"The BMC has already increased its bed capacity to 50,000. We will soon achieve the capacity of one lakh beds," Chahal told reporters.
On reports of the BMC's move to take over some premises of the Wankhede stadium for quarantine facility, he said, "We are not taking over the cricket stadium or any other open space because in Mumbai it sometimes rains continuously for a week. It will not be useful at all for the administration to take care of people."
"We need to think before taking over any ground for COVID-19 treatment ahead of the monsoon. Even Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had instructed me to consider monsoon challenges before making any plans for a new facility (for COVID-19 patients)," he said.
Chahal said some parking lots in the city were a better option to put up beds for patients. The parking facility near the Mumbai airport can be
used to put up 50,000 beds. Another facility in Aarey area has the capacity for at least 1,000 beds.
Two parking lots near Santacruz and Breach Candy Hospital would also useful for putting up beds for COVID-19 patients or isolation purpose, the official said. "An 800-bed facility set up at the MMRDA ground in Bandra-Kurla Complex will be operational from Monday. The appointment of required officials is done. By Tuesday, patients will start being admitted there, Chahal said.
Some private hospitals, government hostels and other such facilities have already been taken over by the BMC. "The ICU facilities of these private hospitals will soon be used for treatment of COVID-19 patients. This will help in containing the rising number of deaths, he said.
Asked about restructuring the COVID-19 containment zones in areas falling under the civic limits, Chahal said there are 690 containment zones in Mumbai at present and most of the cases are being reported from there.
There are some 1,500 buildings where one or two people tested positive for coronavirus, but the entire 15 to 20-storey building was earlier declared as a containment zone. It required additional police staff also.
"Hence, we changed the definition from the entire building to floor and its sanitisation is undertaken by the BMC. It reduced the requirement of police officials in such places and they were deployed at other places for better use. Nearly 3,000 police officials have been shifted to slum areas
as there is more need for security deployment there, he said.
The official also informed that managements of housing societies in the city have been given the responsibility to ensure people do not move out, he said.
Chahal also said that BMC's ambulance strength has been increased from 80 to 350. "Besides, we brought some 50 doctors here from Wardha
last week. We are getting 100 doctors from Ambejogai (tehsil in Beed district), while nearly 2,000 doctors have committed to volunteer in the fight against coronavirus, he said.
The only problem is availability of sweepers and cleaners in state-run and private hospitals. The current attendance of the staff is merely 40 per cent, he said.
"If the BEST (civic body's transport arm running buses) service is improved, more people can come to work, Chahal said. Till Saturday, Mumbai reported 18,555 COVID-19 cases and 696 deaths.