Mumbai’s Dharavi Reports First Coronavirus Death 
File image of a man walking through a narrow lane in the Dharavi slum area of Mumbai. (Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg)

Mumbai’s Dharavi Reports First Coronavirus Death 

One person died of the new coronavirus in Dharavi on Wednesday, while a doctor and a civic worker posted in the Mumbai’s biggest slum tested positive for Covid-19 a day later, prompting the authorities to quarantine two localities in the area.

The death of the 56-year-old man is the first linked to the pandemic in Dharavi on Thursday, triggering concerns about the outbreak in one of the most crowded parts of the city. The deceased had no travel history, according to Kiran Dighavkar, Assistant Commissioner in charge of the G/North ward in Central Mumbai.

In order to prevent the spread of the viral infection, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has sealed the slum rehabilitation building at Dr. Baliga Nagar Jasmine Mill Road, where the deceased used to reside. “The entire society has 8 buildings, 308 flats and 91 shops, which have all been completely sealed”, Dighavkar told BloombergQuint.

Dr. Balliga Nagar area has a population of 2,500, while Dharavi, a sprawl of shanties spread over 240 hectares, has a population of 8.5 lakh and over 13,000 small businesses.

According to Dighavkar:

  • All high risk contacts of the patient have been stamped and quarantined.
  • Family members' and building neighbours' swabs have been sent for testing. The results are expected later in the day.
  • All senior citizens and people with respiratory illnesses in Dr. Baliga Nagar will be tested.
  • Food and essential rations for the people in the building will be provided by the BMC till the 14-day quarantine period ends.
  • No one will be allowed to come out till test results of all high-risk contacts arrive.

The deceased had a garment shop in Dharavi’s AKG Nagar, said Dighavkar. The contact tracing exercise is currently underway.

  • On Thursday night, a 35-year-old doctor was found positive by a test conducted by Suburban Diagnostics. The man lives in an apartment block along the Dharavi main road.

Dighavkar said the patient has been shifted to Raheja Hospital in Mahim and:

  • The BMC sealed the 14-storeyed apartment building, including 48 flats and three nursing homes, where the man lives.
  • 300 people are inside the society.
  • No one is allowed to come out unless all high-risk contacts are tested.
  • There are 25 high-risk contacts and rest in the society are low-risk.
  • List of senior citizens and those with respiratory issues is being prepared.
  • All food/groceries and daily needs will be supplied by the BMC till high-risk contacts are tested.
  • Entire building is being sanitised.

A sanitation worker of the civic authority posted in Dharavi also tested positive, Dighavkar said. The person, who lives in a Worli slum, is undergoing treatment, he said.

On Saturday, two new cases were reported in Dharavi, with no travel history, said Dighavkar.

A 30-year-old woman in another building of Dr. Baliga Nagar tested positive. She, however, is not a close contact of the deceased. She will be shifted to a hospital and a health camp has been set up at the area. Swabs of all symptomatic cases have been taken and sent for testing. Dr. Baliga Nagar is closed and all food essentials as well as medicines for senior citizens is provided by the BMC.

In the second case, Dighavkar said a 48-year-old man tested positive for the virus in Mukund Nagar slum in Dharavi. The patient is admitted to Sion hospital. Contact tracing is in process and all high-risk contacts will be tested and symptomatic patients will be shifted to Rajiv Gandhi Sports Complex Dharavi. Food and other facilities will be provided to them.

Meanwhile, all close contacts of the deceased—they are the wife, daughters, son and his doctor tested negative, Dighavkar said.

Total Covid-19 cases in Dharavi so far:

  • Total cases in Dharavi: Four
  • Cases in Dr. Baliga nagar: Two—one death and a 30-year-old woman undergoing treatment
  • Cases in Dharavi Main Road: A 35-year-old doctor is undergoing treatment
  • Cases Mukund Nagar Slum: A 48-year-old man is under treatment
  • Besides, a municipal sweeper, who’s a resident of Worli but posted in Dharavi has tested positive and is under treatment

On Saturday, Health Minister Rajesh Tope tweeted that the total number of Covid-19 cases in Maharashtra is 537. The state reported 47 new cases, of which 28 are in Mumbai.

The total number of confirmed Covid-19 infections in India has reached 2,902, according to the union health ministry data released at 10 a.m.

(Updates an earlier version with information about two more confirmed cases from Dharavi.)

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