Mumbai reports 20,971 fresh Covid cases, mayor says CM to decide on further curbs soon

By Online Desk

Mumbai on Friday reported 20,971 new Covid infections and 84% of the cases were asymptomatic, according to the civic body data. 

In the last 24 hours, the city also reported six deaths. With the cases crossing the 20,000-mark every day, the question of more restrictions is looming large. 

Mumbai mayor Kishori Pednekar, however, said there has been no decision on night curfew. A final call on imposing further restrictions, which ministers have so far ruled out, will only be taken after CM Uddhav Thackeray’s meeting with PM Modi, the mayor said.

There is no immediate need for imposing lockdown or additional restrictions in Mumbai as the bed occupancy rate, oxygen requirement and number of Covid deaths are low, municipal commissioner Iqbal Chahal said on Friday.

During the first and second wave the decision to impose lockdown was taken on the basis of case positivity rate, but this criterion cannot be applied for the third wave which started on December 21, 2021, Chahal told a Marathi news channel.

No further restrictions were needed to be imposed on travel by local trains as only fully vaccinated people are being allowed to board the trains, he said.

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“The criterion in the first and second wave was the positivity rate. But in this wave of Omicron variant of the virus, two new criteria should be occupancy of hospital beds and oxygen requirement,” Chahal said.

The administration has so far imposed only a few restrictions such as the ban on the assembly of five or more persons during nighttime and the shutting of schools in the city, he said.

Of over 20,000 people who tested positive for coronavirus in Mumbai on Thursday, only 1,180 were hospitalised and 110 were on oxygen support, the BMC chief said.

As many as 5,900 out of 35,000 hospital beds are occupied at present, he said. “At least 83% of beds are currently vacant and oxygen requirement is not even 10%. During the second wave, we used 235 MT of oxygen (per day). Considering these factors, there is no need for lockdown in the current situation,” Chahal said.

“Lockdown cannot be imposed only on the basis of numbers (Covid cases). It depends on how many beds are vacant in our hospitals, how much oxygen is required and how many deaths are taking place. These are more important,” he added.

He conceded that since December 21 last year the positivity rate has gone up significantly. But in the last 16 days, the city recorded only 17 deaths. Active cases have crossed one lakh, but the death rate is only one per day, he said.

“We are keeping a close eye on the situation. I personally review things three to four times a day,” the commissioner said.