The Battle of Mumbai

India Today|July 20, 2020

The Battle of Mumbai
The 6,355 sq. km area has recorded a 300 per cent rise in Covid cases in a month. And, alarmingly, the worst is yet to come
Kiran D. Tare

On July 5, COVID-positive cases in Maharashtra crossed the 200,000 marks. The numbers had doubled in one month since the state began opening up on June 3, a few days ahead of the Union government’s announcement to Unlock on June 8. Almost 60 per cent of the cases and 72 per cent of the 9,250 deaths in the state till July 7 were reported from the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), which makes up 25 per cent of the state’s 120 million population. This region has seen an almost 300 per cent rise in cases.

With nine municipal corporations—Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai, Kalyan-Dombivli, Mira-Bhayandar, Ulhasnagar, Bhiwandi-Nizampur, Vasai-Virar and Panvel—and nine municipal councils, the MMR is the biggest urban agglomeration in Maharashtra. Spread over 6,355 sq. km, it is also the largest hub of service industries, which account for 30 per cent of the GSDP (gross state domestic product) of Rs 32.5 lakh crore (approx. $450 billion). MMR is often dubbed the dormitory of Mumbai, as around 7 million people commute every day from here to the city.

State health department statistics show that, since June 3, the number of positive cases has grown by 166 per cent in Thane, 469 per cent in Kalyan-Dombivli, 413 per cent in Mira-Bhayandar, 1,470 per cent in Bhiwandi-Nizampur, 364 per cent in Panvel, 190 per cent in Navi Mumbai, 130 per cent in Ulhasnagar and 200 per cent in Vasai-Virar—much higher than Mumbai’s 94 per cent. With around 26,000 active cases, Thane tops the chart.

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July 20, 2020