Dharavi Model Only Way, Say Maharashtra Officials As New Hotspots Emerge

Mumbai's satellite cities - Thane and Kalyan-Dombivali - now seem to emerge as the new coronavirus hotspots in the state.

Officials are now conducting door-to-door screening in the new hotspots (File)

Kalyan, Maharashtra:

Maharashtra on Friday logged 8,308 new COVID-19 cases with 1,214 cases from Mumbai. But in a continuing worrying trend, 3,884 of the total cases came from the Thane Division, a major part of which forms the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.

Mumbai's satellite cities - Thane and Kalyan-Dombivali - now seem to emerge as the new coronavirus hotspots in the state with the entire Thane district (city and rural) reporting 631 cases while Kalyan-Dombivali Municipal Corporation reporting 461 new cases on Friday.

The emergence of new hotspots around Mumbai remain a challenge for the state administration as it grapples to contain the surge in cases in the state. Areas in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region adjoining Mumbai like Kalyan-Dombivali Municipal Corporation, Thane Municipal Corporation, Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation, Mira-Bhayandar Municipal Corporation are reporting massive spike in cases everyday.

On Thursday, 8,641 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Maharashtra with 1,476 of them being reported from Mumbai. Thane city and the rural areas reported over 800 cases, Kalyan-Dombivali reported 590 cases, Vasai-Virar reported 326 cases on Thursday.

4,473 of the 8,641 cases came from the Thane Division which constitutes most of the Mumbai Metropolitan Area. The state reported 266 COVID-19 deaths on Thursday of which 56 were from Mumbai.

Speaking to NDTV, Dr Vijay Suryavanshi, Municipal Commissioner of Kalyan-Dombivali Municipal Corporation, admitted that the Dharavi model is the only way to control the situation. This after the state's Environment, Tourism and Protocol Minister Aaditya Thackeray visited the area to take stock of the situation and pushed for a more aggressive approach to chase the virus.

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"We are starting a campaign called 'Family Doctor COVID War Fighter'. They will be like our extended arms. We are taking their help and forming clusters of these doctors. In this cluster, we will have antigen testing and in the next 10 to 15 days we will be scanning the entire population."

Kalyan-Dombivali Mayor Vinita Rane told NDTV, "To stop the spread of coronavirus in the jurisdiction of Kalyan-Dombivali Municipal Corporation, after discussion with Member of Parliament Dr Shrikant Shinde and the municipal commissioner, we have decided to approach family doctors in the city and also conduct antigen tests. This is being implemented now and family physicians and volunteers will approach everyone. This formula will be implemented across the city. We feel we will be able to stop the spread of the virus with this formula."

Dr Prashant Patil, Secretary of Indian Medical Association-Kalyan, told NDTV, "We did door-to-door screening and the result is very good. We screened 7,000 patients on the first day and found 60 positive patients who were tested and isolated. We have started working on the Dharavi pattern and by end of July the number of cases should come down."

Authorities say while a fresh lockdown has been imposed, they know it cannot be the solution. Many of the 18 lakh residents go to Mumbai for work which was a hotspot when the relaxations in the lockdown kicked in last month. That they believe is one of the reasons for the spike in cases. Maharashtra has a death rate of 3.91% while the positivity rate in the state is at 19.7%. The state has a recovery rate of 54.81%.