NEW DELHI: Efforts led by the Maharashtra government and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to ‘chase the virus’ through aggressive targeted tracing of Covid suspects in Dharavi, which has recently seen a sharp decline in infections, drew the Centre’s praise on Sunday.
The proactive measures adopted by BMC reduced the growth rate in the densely populated slum to 4.3% in May and further to 1.02% in June.
The health ministry also lauded the civic body for bringing down daily Covid-19 cases in Dharavi from an average of 43 in May to 19 in the third week of June.
In April, Dharavi had 491 cases with a 12% growth rate and a case doubling period of 18 days. However, with several measures undertaken by the state government and local authorities doubling time improved to 43 days in May and 78 days in June, health ministry said.
Noting that several states have implemented these containment strategies and produced effective outcomes, the Centre said the efforts of the Maharashtra government and the BMC had shown encouraging results.
“As part of these efforts, they have actively chased the virus and aggressively conducted targeted tracing of Covid suspects,” the ministry said.
Pointing out the challenges faced by the BMC in Dharavi, Asia’s largest slum, the ministry said 80% of the population here depends on community toilets. About 8-10 people live in households or hutment that measure about 10/10 feet, coupled with existence of narrow lanes with two-three-storey houses where often the ground floor is a house and other floors are used as factories, the statement said.
Hence, there were severe limitations of physical distancing with no possibility of effective “home quarantine”, it said.
The BMC adopted a model of actively following the four Ts — tracing, tracking, testing and treating, the ministry said.