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Mumbai fights back to stem the spurt in Covid-19 second surge

Effective lockdown in Mumbai helped to control Covid-19

Faced with the second wave of Covid-19, Mumbai has made efforts to stem the increase through various measures. These steps to contain Coronavirus have yielded results as the megapolis is reporting flattening of the curve.

Since the second wave of Covid-19 began in February, the city’s success is being attributed to extensive testing, and timely lockdown.

With the first wave of Covid-19 subsiding, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) did not dismantle Covid-19 centres. The continuing maintenance of these centres proved beneficial when the second wave appeared.

In order to efficiently utilise the beds, BMC categorised them into active, buffer and reserve. The latter could become operational in a week while the former in two to three days’ time.

Speaking to Indian Express, Maharashtra’s Covid Task Force member, Dr. Shashank Joshi, said, “Couple of things worked for Mumbai. BMC did not dismantle makeshift jumbo facilities like BKC. When the tsunami (second wave) hit us, it changed its geographical location. The first wave came from the slum population, now it is predominantly coming from high-rises and housing societies. Now, demand for treatment in private hospitals has increased.”

He also said that BMC ramping up the beds helped. “…it added 3,000 beds in a few days, easing the pressure on the existing private healthcare care sector.”

BMC used the triaging system successfully to ensure systematic allotment of beds and preventing patients from running from one hospital to the other for admission. According to Joshi, the 24 ward-level war rooms set up by BMC was key.

“It eased out anxiety experienced by patients while hunting for beds. The main thing in the Mumbai success story has been its war rooms. All 24 wards have war rooms, with ward officers, who were given power equivalent to the municipal commissioner.”

Further in order to bring about better coordination between the 24 war rooms and jumbo care facilities in terms of bed allotment, BMC had put in place 10 inspection teams. Further the Corporation arranged ambulances for each ward to facilitate examination of those testing positive and seeking hospitalisation.

On receiving the lab report, the concerned ward war room told the patient what to do. The person was either put in home quarantine or was taken to a quarantine centre of hospital by a team.

The city witnessed an increase in the number of testing. While on March 1, 20,000 daily tests were conducted, at the end of the month it went to 40,000. On April 12, Mumbai conducted the highest number of tests in a single day.

BMC ensured the lockdown was implemented effectively. Dr. Bhupendra Patil, BMC Medical Officer of Health, informed: “Initially, we took several actions against individuals and buildings not following guidelines. This forced people to take the guidelines seriously. Also, we ensured aggressive testing in markets, shops and public places. But with the curbs imposed, these places are not open and hence, no tests are taking place there. With the lockdown-like restrictions, we managed to break the chain of infection.”

Not resting on its laurels, BMC believes that focus on intensive and critical care needs to continue while Covid-19 precautions and protocol need to be followed strictly.