With a 62-year-old succumbing to the virus, 10 people from the slum have died so far


The number of coronavirus cases in Dharavi reached 101 on Friday with 15 new patients being detected, said a BMC official. A 62-year-old from the area died of the virus at Sion hospital, he added. A total of 10 Covid-19 patients from this densely populated slum have died so far.

Three new cases each were found in Matunga labour camp, Muslim Nagar and Indira Nagar, two at Social Nagar and one each at Dr Baliga Nagar, Laxmi Chawl, Janata society and Sarvoday society on Friday, said the BMC official.

The BMC is screening around 7.5 lakh people in Dharavi, India’s largest slum cluster. The process, which began on Friday, will continue for around two weeks. It involves recording the temperatures of residents and checking them for coronavirus symptoms. On Friday, health minister Rajesh Tope said the BMC will use drones to spray disinfectants in the sprawling slum. Tope also said drones will be used by the police for “effective” implementation of the lockdown in densely populated areas.

The BMC has already taken over the entire 51-bed privately owned Sai Hospital in Dharavi and turned it into a isolation centre for local patients.

The civic body, which is carrying out a door-to-door exercise in Dharavi, has thermally screened over 13,000 people so far. Based on the addresses of the positive cases identified so far, five slum pockets within Dharavi have been earmarked as red zones and their residents segregated — to the extent possible — from the rest. The five zones —Madina Nagar, Muslim Nagar, Mukund Nagar, Kalyanwadi and Social Nagar —have a combined population of about 50,000.

It was in Dr Baliga Nagar that the first Covid-19 case in Dharavi was found on April 1. The man had died the same day. Following his death, the civic body launched a massive operation to contain the spread of the virus in Asia’s largest slum.

Kiran Dighavkar, assistant municipal commissioner, G-north ward, said, “Since the first case in Dharavi was detected, we strictly implemented quarantine measures in the slum. We have been providing food packets and medicines to the residents and also tracing high-risk contacts of patients and conducting health and fever-screening camps. But the number of cases was rising, so we needed more people for contact tracing. We appealed to private doctors and 24 of them came forward. They were split into teams of two, each with a nurse, a co-ordinator and two volunteers. We provided them with masks, suits, thermometers and other equipment like gloves and goggles. Soon, the residents started co-operating as they trusted the local doctors.”