A day after Mumbai reported over 1,500 coronavirus cases in 24 hours, the BMC has said that all options, including that of lockdown, are open in front of it.
“As of now, it is not on our plan. But certainly, if the cases go up like this, and if we are not getting equal support from citizens, then we can keep that option open after detailed review. That decision will be taken at an appropriate time,” Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani told CNN-News18.
The BMC has also announced a shift in strategy for the control of Covid-19. Now, the BMC will shift its focus from slums to buildings and high rises. As per latest data analysed by the municipal corporation, 90% of Mumbai cases have been reported from buildings and high rises in the last two-three months, while only 10% cases come from slums.
“Most of the cases are coming from buildings, 90% or more so now. We have shifted our focus from densely populated areas, slums, to buildings. So whoever is enjoying the facility of home quarantine, whether they are following the proper protocol and whether they are following Covid-19 appropriate behaviour — we are trying to ensure that. We have roped in the office bearers of housing societies. They can report violations if such cases are reported. We will move them to institutional quarantine, and in some cases, we have also lodged police cases. That option is also open. So stringent measures will definitely help us control the rising cases,” Kakani said.
Another cause of concern for the municipal body is that cases are being reported from different buildings and not from the same clusters. “Most of the cases are coming from buildings. They are sparingly distributed. It’s not that 10 cases are coming from one building. The spread is in various buildings,” he said.
Concerns have been raised by several political parties in the opposition in the last few days over the overcrowding in pubs, discos and nightclubs. Asked if any action will be taken against Mumbai nightlife, Kakani said that action was being taken against those who flouted norms.
“We have targeted pubs, nightclubs, restaurants, cinema theatres, shopping malls. All places where footfall is more, if we come across persons not following Covid appropriate behaviour, we will penalise them, punish them and in exceptional cases, also lodge police cases against the defaulters,” he said.
‘Private hospitals to operate 24 hours’
The BMC has given permission to private hospitals to operate for 24 hours for all seven days for the vaccination drive. A few hospitals had requested that they be allowed to continue the vaccination drive even after working hours so that the working population can get vaccinated easily. Accepting the proposal, the BMC has said that the private hospitals will now be able to continue their vaccination drive for all 24 hours.
“Private hospitals will help us increase our capacity and achieve targets. Initially we started with 50,000 vaccinations a day and now we wish to increase to 1,00,000 per day in the coming 30 days. Before the onset of monsoon, we should be able to cover our target population,” he said.
“Close to 30 lakh people is our target population. we are targeting 45 plus age groups with comorbidities, 60 years and more, and some of the frontline healthcare workers,” he added.