Virus Variant Causing Mumbai Covid Surge: Civic Body Chief To NDTV - SARKARI JOB INDIAN

Virus Variant Causing Mumbai Covid Surge: Civic Body Chief To NDTV

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Coronavirus: In the last 49 days, Mumbai has seen 91,000 cases.

Mumbai: The surge in Covid cases in Mumbai is driven by a virus variant that is more infectious but less lethal, the city’s civic body chief Iqbal Singh Chahal said today. He also denied that the spike in recent weeks betrayed any carelessness or mishandling by the administration.

“We never lowered our guard and did our best. But the new mutant is so infectious that if one member of the family gets it, the entire family gets it in a few hours. This was not heard of earlier. This is only with the new mutant. So we are helpless there,” Mr Chahal, the chief of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), told NDTV.

The comments contradict the central government, which yesterday denied that strains of the Covid virus in India with double mutations were responsible for more severe infections and a faster spread. “There is no such thing as an Indian strain. There is no cause for panic. Mutations are sporadic, not significant,” said Balram Bhargava, Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

Asked what evidence was there of the new strain, given the Centre’s view, Mr Chahal said it was based on what the task force set up by the Maharashtra government had said. “The task force has a dozen doctors who are best in their fields. They have been advising us. They have said this is a mutation of the virus that is highly infectious but less lethal,” he said.

“They have some technical names. Two principal mutants emanated from Amravati, Nagpur.”

The mutant strain could be tackled by the current vaccines available, he said. “The vaccines will be good for the UK strain. But the South Africa strain will be an issue. But Serum Institute of India’s new vaccine will tackle that issue.”

He said the surge started when a new mutation was detected in the Vidarbha and Nagpur region in the first week of February. This was a “highly infectious” mutant and ripples were felt across Maharashtra, he said.

“In Mumbai, from February 10 onwards, we started getting a second surge or second wave. In the last 49 days, Mumbai has seen 91,000 cases which are Covid positive. 71,000 are asymptomatic. The remaining are symptomatic but the symptoms are so mild that less than 50 per cent asked for hospital beds,” Mr Chahal shared.

Explaining the scale of the increase, he said on February 10, Mumbai had 3,500 beds occupied, and this has now shot up to 9,900, mostly from the city’s suburbs.

But Mr Chahal asserted that despite the surge, the virus was not out of control since the death rate was 0.2 – far below the WHO’s 1 per cent-limit.

Mumbai, he said, could handle “even 10,000 cases a day” because of its “robust health infrastructure”.

“The supply has to be far ahead of demand. We have already planned for it. We are in a position to handle the sudden load because of the new mutation,” said the BMC chief.

“Mumbai, we are on it. There is no need to panic.”

On the possibility of a lockdown in Mumbai, because of violations of Covid restrictions, Mr Chahal cautiously said: “The Chief Minister (Uddhav Thackeray) has said there no need for a lockdown as the economy has to run fully. It is the citizens of Mumbai who have to show Covid-appropriate behavior. If they follow it, the threat of a lockdown can be delayed…I am sure we can avoid a lockdown with responsible behavior.”
 

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