With a 50% Drop From its Peak, Mumbai Covid-19 Cases at 3-week Low. Are Curbs Working?

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Mumbai on Saturday reported 5,888 cases – a nearly 50 percent drop from its highest single-day spike of 11,163 on April 4 – marking the Maharashtra capital’s lowest tally in three weeks. The additions since April 19 have been around the 8000-mark.

Maharashtra numbers have also been reflecting a consistent downward graph. The state – by far the worst hit in the country and the biggest contributor for months – reported 67,160 fresh infections today.

The Mumbai figures are also about 20 percent less than yesterday when the city saw 7,221 new cases in a span of 24 hours.

In another piece of positive news, the doubling rate is also above 50 – a huge sigh of relief for authorities battling a Covid-19 wave deadlier and more virulent than any other city.

The daily positivity rate has also dropped to below 15 percent from the 18 percent recorded last week.

Although there has been no significant let-up in fatalities, the number is decreasing. The authorities are still considering it a win after the havoc caused by the virus at its peak.

Mumbai recorded 75 covid-related on Thursday, the highest one-day fatality count since July last year. Today, the number is 71.

Strict curbs = Better results?

The city currently has over 120 containment zones, while the number of sealed buildings is more than 1,200.

And even though the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra government refuses to call it a lockdown, the state is under strict restrictions very similar to the ones imposed last year during the pandemic’s first wave.

Days after numerous flip-flops on the imposition of a total lockdown that kept citizens on their toes, Thackeray on April 22 imposed several new restrictions including a ban on inter-city and inter-district travel and curbs on office attendance.

Prohibitory orders, banning the assembly of five or more people at one place, are in force till 7 am on May 1, while non-essential activities are not being allowed. Essential services, including grocery stores, are permitted to operate only between 7 and 11 am. The restrictions termed ‘Break the Chain’ by the government will remain effective till 7 am on May 1.

On April 14, Thackeray said, “Livelihoods are important, but life is more important,” as he ordered the shutting down of gyms, spas, theatres, religious places, malls, markets, and other public places.

So, does this mean that Thackeray will have to extend the curbs to check the spread of the coronavirus? The decision may not be so easy, just like the last time.

He not only faced immense pushback from coalition partner NCP which maintained a vehemently strong stance against a lockdown in the state, there were reports of stiff opposition from within the party too. BJP leader and former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis too rejected the proposal and criticised the Thackeray government for failing to contain the situation and letting it go out of hand. There was a backlash from the business fraternity – Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra advocated strengthening medical infrastructure and curbing mortality instead of imposing a lockdown.

But with numbers supporting Thackeray, an extension may be in the offing.

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