While the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) last week reduced the fine for those seen without masks to ₹200 from ₹1,000, it will enforce the rule strictly from Monday, amid the steady spike of Covid-19 cases.
The civic body has also decided to examine if de-listed private hospitals need to restart taking in Covid-19 patients. The decision will be taken in a meeting of civic health officials on Monday afternoon.
Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner in charge of the civic body’s public health department said on Sunday evening: “On Monday morning, I will convey to all officers in writing that the fine of ₹200 for not wearing a mask should be strictly enforced, so that there is no confusion. Powers will be delegated to field officers to fine citizens. These include staff of the solid waste management department, and any official from any department who is doing field work.” These include employees from the licence and health department.
Kakani also said on Saturday, “In a meeting on Monday, we will take a call on whether we need to activate some private hospitals to increase bed capacity. Currently, the bed capacity we have is sufficient and we have many vacant beds at the end of each day.”
In mid-May, when Mumbai witnessed a similar spike, the state had decided to reserve 80% of beds in private hospitals to treat Covid-19 patients. However, with the curve showing an improvement in May, over 70 such private hospitals and nursing homes were delisted.
For the past two weeks, Mumbai has seen a steady spike in daily Covid-19 cases, with Thursday recording 2,371 new cases in a single day, the highest spike so far, and a significant number of days recording over 2,000 fresh cases.
The number of active cases in Mumbai crossed the 30,000 mark on Sunday, with a total of 30,316 active cases. According to figures from BMC, the last time active cases in Mumbai crossed 30,000 was June 23, with 30,063 active cases, after which they had steadily declined, and did not cross the 30,000 mark again until Sunday.
On Sunday, Mumbai recorded 2,089 new cases, taking the total to 169,741. Mumbai also recorded 41 deaths, taking the toll to 8,150. Mumbai’s recovery rate has dropped to 77% from the 80% recorded by the end of August. The doubling rate has dropped to 56 days, and the overall growth rate is 1.2%.
According to the civic body, the bed capacity available is sufficient to cater to patients in the present scenario, even with a high number of cases daily. As of Saturday, Mumbai has 37% of its 16,063 total beds vacant, which include hospital beds, beds in jumbo facilities and in quarantine centres for asymptomatic patients. While 19% of its 6,879 beds available for symptomatic patients are vacant, 5% of the 1,417 intensive care unit (ICU) beds are vacant, and 36% of the 7,852 oxygen beds are vacant.
Kakani said on Saturday, “The maximum number of cases coming up now are asymptomatic, and continue to come from high-rises in the suburbs. As BMC has allowed home quarantine for asymptomatic patients, if they have a separate room and an attached toilet, people are opting to stay at home. This is why, so far, we have not seen a shortage of beds.”
Kakani said, “The trend in new cases shows more cases are coming from high-rises. We noticed even those are among domestic help and drivers working for the residents. The occupants are taking care.”
BMC has attributed the spike to high number of daily tests. As per BMC data, on September 9, 15,701 tests were conducted in the city, 15,119 on September 10 and 15,827 tests on September 11, as opposed to August’s highest of 8,000-9,000 a day.