Covid-19 cases, which have been gradually increasing in Mumbai since the festive season began with Ganesh Chaturthi, hit 5,317 on Thursday, the highest since July 26.
Officials from Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s health department said they are anticipating a small spike post-Dussehra as more people step out for shopping and meeting friends and family.
However, officials said the rise in cases is not a cause for concern as the situation is under control, and most of Mumbai’s population has taken at least one vaccine dose, and nearly half have taken both doses.
On Thursday, Mumbai recorded 546 fresh cases with five deaths. It was the third highest single-day number in the past two weeks.
On August 17, active cases had dipped to a low of 2,640. Three weeks earlier, on July 26, the number of cases was 5,397, almost the same as the number of cases on Thursday.
Officials said that after relaxations in Covid-19 guidelines, there has been a slight increase in daily cases. On August 15, the state had relaxed the restrictions. “There has been a rise in public gatherings and offices were also opened. Also, during Ganeshotsav, markets were crowded as people rushed for shopping,” said a BMC official.
People have also dropped their guard after getting vaccinated, and are not as strict about social distancing norms.
From September, the daily positive cases breached the 500 mark compared to 300 in August. Also, the number of sealed building figures went up to 57 from 48 in the past 10 days. Similarly, the positivity rate has increased to 1.47% in the past two weeks.
“The rise in cases is mainly due to the festive season and relaxations in guidelines. But so far there is no cause for concern. We are keeping a check on daily cases. There could be some rise in cases after Dussehra. We are all prepared,” said Dr Mangala Gomare, Executive Health Officer.
BMC had barred in-person darshan of Ganesha idols at pandals during the celebrations in September, and has similarly disallowed garba-dandiya gatherings as well as Durga puja gatherings in pandals.
The civic body is now preparing for vaccination of children. Officials said there are 30 lakh children between 2 years and 18 years of age. BMC is likely to begin this process soon after detailed guidelines are issued by the Union government.
“We will train 1,500 staffers for vaccination of children. There are 350 vaccination centres in Mumbai. We will also set up paediatric wards so that in case of adverse impact of vaccine, they can be treated. BMC is awaiting guidelines from the central government,” said an official from BMC.
The BMC will also take up an awareness drive for children’s vaccination in Mumbai. So far 1.33 crore people, or nearly 50 per cent of Mumbai’s population, have received both doses of the vaccination.