Zero death milestone: Is the nightmare really over for Mumbai?

Mumbai is opening up gradually with number of Covid cases dropping, but many are cautioning against dropping the guard. Photo: PTI

When the pandemic first struck India in March 2020, very little was known about coronavirus apart from the fact that it originated in China, was zoonotic and could even kill people if they came in contact with infected persons. In overcrowded Mumbai though, what people didn’t know was how not to come in contact with people.

With a population of over 1,20,00,000 and a geographical area of 437 sq km, every Mumbaikar was in the breathing range of another. Town planners say that is because barely 120 sq km is the actual habitable residential area for the 12 million or 1.2 crore people. When space comes at a premium, the poor are the natural losers. Asia’s largest slum, Dharavi, with an area of just over 2.1 square kilometres and a population of about 1,000,000, had 2,77,136 people struggling to find their feet per kilometre.

The Maximum City recorded the highest number of deaths in Maharashtra with a total of 16,255 people succumbing to the virus so far. So, when on October 17, the city marked its first zero-Covid-death day in 17 months, people literally breathed a sigh of relief.

With cases climbing down, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which has been at the forefront of Mumbai’s fight against Coronavirus, allowed reopening of places of worship starting October 7. Mumbai has also significantly reduced the restrictions on schools, colleges, restaurants, cinema halls and travel in local trains.

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