No lockdown needed in Mumbai despite surge in cases: municipal commissioner

There is no immediate need to impose lockdown or additional restrictions in Mumbai as bed occupancy, oxygen demands and COVID-19 deaths are low, Commissioner Iqbal Chahal said on Friday. During the first and second waves, the decision to impose a lockdown was made based on the case positivity rate, but that criterion cannot be applied to the third wave, which began on December 21, 2021, Chahal told a Marathi news channel.

No further restrictions are required for travel on local trains as only fully vaccinated people are allowed to board the trains, he said.

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

The administration has so far imposed few restrictions such as bans on gathering five or more people during the night and closing schools in the city, he said.

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

Up to 5,900 of 35,000 hospital beds are currently occupied, he said.

“At least 83 percent of the beds are currently unoccupied and the oxygen demand is less than 10 percent. In the second wave we used 235 MT oxygen (per day). Given these factors, there is no need for a lockdown in the current situation. “Said Chahal.

“The lockdown cannot only be imposed by numbers (COVID-19 cases). It depends on how many beds are vacant in our hospitals, how much oxygen is needed and how many deaths occur. These are more important, ”he adds.

He admitted that the positivity rate had increased significantly since December 21 last year.

But in the past 16 days, the city recorded only 17 deaths. Active cases have exceeded a lakh, but the death rate is only one per day, he said.

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

Only unvaccinated Omicron patients require oxygen, he noted.

However, the head of the citizens’ initiative warned against complacency.

Omicron infection isn’t like the flu, but it’s a virus, he said, urging people to behave appropriately for COVID-19 and wear masks.

When a person tests positive with a self-test kit, the information on the ICMR’s website is updated and this gives the BMC information, Chahal said.

As of Thursday, 3,800 people in Mumbai used self-test kits and 288 of them came up with positive results. That number was included in the daily count, he said, adding that the citizens’ authority had also ramped up tests from 40,000 to 70,000 samples per day.

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