Unlockdown: Mumbai moves to Level 2, but BMC says no relaxation in curbs for 2 weeks

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Friday decided against further relaxation of restrictions for two more weeks though Mumbai’s Covid-19 positivity rate and oxygen bed occupancy has declined with the city moving to Level 2 of unlockdown.

The Maharashtra government on Friday issued the first of its weekly updates on each district’s positivity rates and oxygen bed occupancy – the two parameters on which the new system of graded unlockdown from levels 1 to 5 is determined.

Though Mumbai has improved enough to move from Level 3 to Level 2, Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal issued a notification stating that the city would continue to follow restrictions meant for Level 3, keeping in mind the city’s population, daily footfall in local trains and weather prediction for the monsoon season.

“Mumbai has been showing a decline trend in new cases. But we don’t plan on easing further restrictions for at least next two weeks,” said Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani.

Should cases again increase in the city or bed occupancy rises, Kakani added, the civic body would be again forced to tighten restrictions. “This will create confusion and problems in management at wards. We don’t want to open up activities and shut them again due to a rise in cases. We have decided to observe the trend for the next two weeks before we take a call,” he said.

Mumbai’s weekly positivity rate stands at 4.4 per cent at present. Last week, 11,878 people have tested positive of the 2.69 lakh who have undergone Covid-19 tests.

Mumbai had missed the Level 2 category tag last week as its Covid-19 positivity rate was 0.56 per cent above the 5 per cent limit.

The city has 3,416 oxygen beds occupied, which is 27 per cent of the 12,593 oxygen beds available across all hospitals. While 1,008 ventilators are occupied, 472 are vacant.

Dr Mangala Gomare, BMC executive health officer, said the civic body can take a call to continue with the restrictions even if it progresses from one level to another as precautionary measure.

Mumbai has allowed restaurants and shops to operate until 4 pm while malls continue to remain closed. Restaurants and non-essential shops have to remain closed over weekends. Local trains can be used for medical emergency and by women besides those involved in providing essential services. Offices can function with up to 50 per cent of employees. Film and television shooting can continue in a bubble until 4 pm.

The rules are more relaxed for Level 2, but as per the guidelines, the local authority – in this case BMC.

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