Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray today praised health professionals, municipal officials and others for helping Dharavi - Asia's largest slum which was once declared a COVID-19 hotspot - to flatten the curve.
"The Chief Minister appreciated the efforts made to control coronavirus, and such examples could inspire people to come out of the pandemic... The global record of Dharavi's efforts is what strengthens the fight against coronavirus," the Chief Minister's Office tweeted, referring to the World Health Organisation's (WHO) acknowledgement that Dharavi and some other places have proven that COVID-19 could still be reined in through aggressive action.
"The Chief Minister lauded the concerted efforts of the municipal administration, NGOs and local Dharavikars and commended them for their efforts to control coronavirus," the Chief Minister's Office tweeted, adding Mr Thackeray said, "It's the success of all of your efforts."
The WHO on Friday said it is still possible to bring coronavirus outbreaks under control, even though case numbers have more than doubled in the past six weeks.
"In the last six weeks cases have more than doubled. However, there are many examples from around the world that have shown that even if the outbreak is very intense, it can still be brought back under control," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
"And some of these examples are Italy, Spain and South Korea, and even in Dharavi - a densely packed area in the megacity of Mumbai - a strong focus on community engagement and the basics of testing, tracing, isolating and treating all those that are sick is key to breaking the chains of transmission and suppressing the virus," the WHO chief said.
The coronavirus has killed 555,000 people globally since the outbreak emerged in China last December.
Kiran Dighavkar, assistant commissioner of the G North ward of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), said the civic agency had to change its traditional approach of waiting for patients, contact-tracing, isolation and home quarantine to begin proactive screening instead.
"Proactive screening helped in early detection, timely treatment and recovery," he said, news agency PTI reported.
At least seven lakh people have been screened in Dharavi, while 14,000 have been tested and 13,000 placed in institutional quarantine with community kitchen for free.
The efforts taken by the civic authorities and local participation is evident from the doubling rate of the virus in Dharavi. According to government data, while in April the doubling rate was 18 days, it gradually improved to 43 days in May and slowed down to 108 and 430 days in June and July, respectively.
As many as 2,359 COVID-19 cases have been recorded in Dharavi so far, of which 1,952 patients have recovered, while there are only 166 active cases at present.