The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Thursday told the Bombay High Court that till May 9, around 12,000 children have got infected with COVID-19 in the city.
BMC’s advocate, senior counsel Anil Sakhre told a bench of Justices Amjad Sayyad and G S Kulkarni that 17 children have died due to the virus in the city so far.
The high court sought to know from the civic body what was being done to ensure that children are provided timely and adequate treatment. Sakhre told the high court that the BMC has upgraded the health infrastructure in the city to prepare for the imminent third wave of the pandemic.
He said that the state had made special arrangements to treat children affected by COVID-19. Only two children in the city were currently undergoing hospital treatment for the infection, he added.
“We have kept separate beds, gave adequate facilities to treat children,” Sakhre told the high court.
The bench, which was hearing a bunch of public interest litigations seeking proper management of issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic, asked if the BMC had also made arrangements for the safety of the caregivers or parents accompanying such children.
“Yes, we make safety arrangements for the parents or caregivers to stay in the hospital with the children whenever required. They (parents/caregivers) will also need to be vaccinated,” Sakhre said.
He said that 12 per cent of the BMC’s annual budget was spent on improving the health infrastructure in the city.
The bench said, “Last time, during the May 12 hearing, 11,000 children in the city had been affected. Now that number has increased significantly. What is being done to ensure children are provided timely and adequate treatment?”
The high court reiterated that all municipal bodies across the state must replicate the BMC’s model on tackling the pandemic. The court also asked the Maharashtra government why BMC chief Iqbal Singh Chahal hadn’t conducted a video conference with commissioners of other municipal bodies and shared the “Mumbai Model”.
“Our only anxiety is the successful Mumbai Model should reach to all corporations in Maharashtra,” the high court said. It will continue hearing the PILs on June 2.