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Covid-19 in India: ‘Third wave’ fear grips Mumbai ahead of festive season

Nithin Belle in Pune/Mumbai
Filed on September 8, 2021
Reuters

Civic authorities ramp up vaccination drive and take measures to prevent overcrowding in public places


The authorities are worried about the impact of the raging Covid-19 pandemic on Mumbai, as the megapolis is set to celebrate several festivals over the next few days.

Data shows that around 80 and 30 per cent of Mumbaikars have received the first and booster dose of the Covid-19 jab, respectively.

“Our focus is on administering the booster shot to Mumbaikars,” Suresh Kakani, additional commissioner, Brihanmumbai Municipal Commission (BMC), told Khaleej Times.

“On Thursday, we’re organising special camps to administer the booster dose," he said.

The BMC, the country’s richest civic body, is determined to ensure that a majority of Mumbaikars are administered the jab in a bid to rein in the spread of the contagion during the festive season, including the Ganpati festival that starts on Friday (September 11).

The civic authorities are coordinating with all the major organisers of the Ganpati festival that celebrate the worshipping of the Hindu elephant God.

Plans are afoot to enable the public to watch the festivities on giant screens in a bid to prevent overcrowding.

“We’ve made arrangements to immerse Ganesh idols in artificial ponds,” Kakani added.

Usually, millions of Mumbaikars take out processions on the last day of the festival to immerse the Ganesh idols in Arabian Sea at Chowpatty, Shivaji Park, Juhu beach, Versova and several other places.

Kakani said the next fortnight is crucial for Mumbai, especially amid fears of a resurgence in Covid-19 cases.

There has been a surge in fresh Covid-19 cases since the first week of September.

The health care crisis will aggravate if there is overcrowding during the festivities.

Earlier on Tuesday, Kishori Pednekar, the BMC mayor, was quoted as saying that the third wave has arrived in the city.

However, on Wednesday, she clarified: “I did not say third wave in Mumbai…I said it is on our doorsteps, hence precautions are important.”

She maintained that Covid-19 was on the “threshold of Mumbai”.

Aditya Thackeray, Maharashtra's minister for environment and tourism, said the government was working hard to prevent a third wave in Mumbai and in the state.

“We can delay the outbreak (of Covid-19), if we follow the protocol,” he added.

The overcrowding in markets and public places has sent the authorities in a tizzy.

To make matters worse, Covid-19 infections have doubled in the city’s densely populated areas such as Byculla, Dadar, Bandra over the past month.

The contagion is also a cause for concern in half a dozen other neighbourhoods in Mumbai.





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