Dharavi: The Next COVID-19 Hotspot?

COVID-19 Top story

One death and four new cases were reported on April 13 morning in Dharavi, taking the total death toll of Mumbai to 92.

Bhavesh Purohit

April 13,2020

Mumbai: A 60-year-old COVID-19 patient from Dharavi, Asia’s largest slum succumbed to death at Sion hospital on Monday morning (April 13), Bloomberg Quint reported. This takes the total death toll because of coronavirus to 5 in Dharavi.

“I haven’t stepped outside my house for the past 2 days. Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has been conducting special drives from last Saturday and things are uneasy here. People have not been maintaining social distance, especially when standing in queues in the market,” said Darshan Govind, a resident of Chamda Bazaar, Dharavi.

“Our team and the local doctors of Dharavi are relentlessly conducting home-to-home surveys to spot people with COVID-19 symptoms because some are reluctant to open up about their health condition,” said the assistant commissioner of BMC North G ward, Kiran Dighavkar.

Currently, the total number of cases from the area peaks at 47, even as India’s financial capital speculates that Dharavi could be a potential Coronavirus hotspot in the city. These speculations rise from the fact that Dharavi is home to more than seven lakh people and is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. The living conditions in the area are marked by cramped spaces which do not help in following social distancing.  

Residents of Dharavi are taking to Twitter to voice their concerns. A user named Sumra, tweeted a video which shows people not following social distancing. Another user named Mahesh Salian tweeted a request to Mumbai Police to appoint more policemen in the area. 

An NGO named Super Sikh Foundation has collaborated with the BMC to provide food packets to 147 families of Dharavi. The President of Super Sikh Foundation, Gurpreet Wasi, said, “While BMC is doing a commendable job, residents of Dharavi are also required to take precautionary measures. People should make sure they don’t create unnecessary panic. The families should educate each other about social distancing before things get out of hand.”

Rahul Shewale, a member of parliament from Shiv Sena party, urged Maharashtra Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray to impose a complete lockdown in Dharavi fearing that COVID-19 cases might escalate in the area. 


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