One Man’s Fight To Prevent Coronavirus Raging Through Dharavi

Trending Stories

[ad_1]

One Man's Fight To Prevent Coronavirus Raging Through Dharavi

Dharavi has a population of about 1 million, many of whom are migrant laborers.

When government official Kiran Dighavkar heard that a 56-year-old man who’d recently died in the Mumbai suburb of Dharavi had tested positive for Covid-19, he knew his next moves would determine the trajectory of the outbreak in India’s commercial capital.

The man, who died on April 1, lived with seven members of his family in a 400 square foot flat adjoining Asia’s most densely packed slum, where as many as 80 people share a public toilet. Not only could infection spread rampantly, but home quarantine for those testing positive would not be an option.

Officials had an added problem. Fearing stigmatization, the man’s family were not fully co-operating with authorities.

Dighavkar, an assistant commissioner for the city’s municipality, and his team in charge of the area surrounding Dharavi, turned to mobile phone providers to retrace the man’s movements. His contacts were tested and high-risk ones, those with respiratory or other conditions, were isolated. Authorities’ efforts are focused on preventing the pathogen from racing undetected through the slum where a population the size of San Francisco packs into an area smaller than New York’s Central Park.

Trying to trace and contain outbreaks in settlements such as Dharavi — 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) from Mumbai’s key business district and home to India’s biggest stock exchange and the local headquarters of JPMorgan Chase & Co. — are critical in India’s fight against the deadly coronavirus, which has sickened over 1.2 million people globally and killed more than 64,000.

With a population of about 1 million, many of whom are migrant laborers from villages thousands of miles away, keeping the contagion from spreading in Dharavi could help prevent hospitals in Mumbai and across India from being overwhelmed.

Mumbai is turning into somewhat of an epicenter for the outbreak in the country, having reported more than a tenth of India’s 3,374 cases and almost half of its deaths, according to official data reported Sunday. This could be partly because of higher levels of testing but also due to a high proportion of low-wage migrant population as well as globe-trotting corporate executives.

In Dharavi, which sleeps thousands of daily wagers and hosts businesses run from huts with a tarpaulin roof — at times without government permissions — tensions and mistrust are rising. Some youth pelted stonesafter police tried to seal the area and keep residents from stepping out of their homes.

“We are talking about a slum where 10-12 people live in 10×10 feet tin hutments. You can’t expect them to sit at home all day long,” said Vinod Shetty, director at the non-profit Acorn Foundation, which works with sanitation workers in Dharavi. “They pay 25 rupees for a gallon of water, you’ll tell them to wash their hands frequently. Eighty people share a public toilet, you’ll tell them to not leave their house. How is that possible?”

Shetty and authorities Bloomberg News interviewed say the residents of Dharavi are aware of the risks of Covid-19. But they’re also scared, just like millions of poor people across the globe, of losing their jobs, of being unable to provide for their families, and of being hauled away by police. It’s crucial that the government use community leaders in these slums to build trust, Shetty says.

“In Dharavi, it’s very difficult to get the facts right. A lot of times residents are not telling us the truth about their travel history or where they have been out of fear,” said Dighavkar. “They fear they will be nabbed and punished for not following lockdown rules.”

Local authorities have quarantined about 3,000 people in Dharavi — or 0.03% of its population — three others have been infected and results of as many as 25 are awaited. The dead man’s family has tested negative. A sports club in the vicinity is being converted into a 300-bed isolation facility and a nearby 50-bed hospital has been acquired for asymptomatic cases. Authorities say they are providing food and water to affected residents.

While six teams of doctors and nurses and 170 health workers are dedicated to Dharavi alone, they can’t mitigate the economic pain of India’s three-week lockdown, the world’s largest isolation effort that may tip the nation’s economy into its first contraction in more than two decades.

Stranded Workers

Sheikh Mobinuddin, who runs a garments and recycled plastics business in Dharavi, blames the suddenness of the lockdown for paralyzing residents. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the decision in an 8 p.m. televised address March 24 and it took force at midnight.

About 100,000 poor migrants employed in Dharavi’s leather and garment-making units are being fed by the community or by political parties as businesses are shut, Mobinuddin said. He predicts they will rush to their homesin other states once public transport resumes, and risk carrying the virus deeper into the rural hinterland where health facilities are sparse.

Since the initial death in Dharavi, a 35-year-old doctor has also tested positive (authorities say he probably contracted the virus from his patients in a private hospital nearby) as well as a 30-year-old woman with fever and cough. Both live in buildings adjoining the slum. A 48-year-old from the hutments has been hospitalized with Covid-19 as has a sweeper who works in Dharavi but stays elsewhere.

Residents are worried about what would happen if the virus takes root in the shanties, said Raju Korde, who owns a garments shop in Dharavi.

“Only God can save people then,” the 50-year-old said. “We’ll have to trust our own immunity. That’s the only option.”

World

12,75,773Cases

9,43,245Active

2,63,021Recovered

69,507Deaths

Coronavirus has spread to 183 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 12,75,773 and 69,507 have died; 9,43,245 are active cases and 2,63,021 have recovered as on April 6, 2020 at 10:54 am.

India

4,067 693Cases

3,666 636Active

292 25Recovered

109 32Deaths

In India, there are 4,067 confirmed cases including 109 deaths. The number of active cases is 3,666 and 292 have recovered as on April 6, 2020 at 9:00 am.

State & District Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths

DistrictCases

Mumbai173

Pune51

Mumbai Suburban41

Sangli24

Nagpur15

Thane14

Ahmednagar11

Raigad5

Palghar5

Buldhana4

Yavatmal4

Satara2

Kolhapur1

Jalgaon1

Nashik1

Aurangabad1

Ratnagiri1

Gondia1

Sindhudurg1

Details Awaited*334

690 200

693 221

42

45 21

DistrictCases

Chennai69

Coimbatore33

Tirunelveli30

Dindigul25

Erode25

Namakkal19

Theni12

Karur11

Madurai11

Thiruvarur9

Tiruppur8

Thoothukudi6

Salem6

Virudhunagar5

Sivaganga5

Kanniyakumari5

Tiruvannamalai4

Villupuram4

Kanchipuram4

Nagapattinam3

Ramanathapuram2

Vellore2

Tiruchirappalli1

Ariyalur1

Details Awaited*271

571 86

568 86

8 2

5 2

DistrictCases

South77

South West14

West10

East9

North West9

South East9

North East8

North6

Central4

New Delhi3

Shahdara2

Details Awaited*352

503

492

18

7

DistrictCases

Hyderabad55

Warangal Urban12

Medchal Malkajgiri9

Ranga Reddy7

Karimnagar5

Mahabubnagar4

Kamareddy4

Bhadradri Kothagudem4

Nalgonda3

Sangareddy2

Nizamabad2

Jogulamba Gadwal2

Suryapet1

Mulugu1

Nagarkurnool1

Jangoan1

Mahabubabad1

Medak1

Details Awaited*206

321 52

294 50

34 2

7

DistrictCases

Kasaragod68

Kannur25

Ernakulam18

Pathanamthitta14

Kozhikode6

Malappuram6

Thiruvananthapuram6

Thrissur5

Idukki3

Kottayam3

Palakkad3

Alappuzha2

Kollam1

Wayanad1

Details Awaited*153

314 8

261 2

55 6

2

DistrictCases

Jaipur36

Bhilwara23

Jodhpur16

Tonk9

Jhunjhunu8

Churu6

Ajmer5

Bharatpur3

Dungarpur3

Alwar3

Pratapgarh2

Udaipur1

Jaisalmer1

Sikar1

Pali1

Dholpur1

Dausa1

Details Awaited*133

253 53

232 53

21

0

DistrictCases

Gautam Buddha Nagar28

Meerut12

Agra11

Lucknow7

Ghaziabad6

Baghpat2

Moradabad2

Bareilly1

Ghazipur1

Jaunpur1

Kanpur Nagar1

Kheri1

Pilibhit1

Varanasi1

Shamli1

Details Awaited*151

227

210

19

2

DistrictCases

Visakhapatnam3

Krishna2

Chittoor1

East Godavari1

Guntur1

Spsr Nellore1

Prakasam1

Details Awaited*216

226 36

228 38

1

3 2

DistrictCases

Indore65

Jabalpur7

Ujjain5

Bhopal4

Gwalior2

Shivpuri2

Details Awaited*80

165

174

0

9

DistrictCases

Bengaluru Urban40

Mysuru13

Chikballapur10

Uttar Kannad9

Dakshin Kannad4

Ballari3

Kalaburagi3

Udupi3

Bengaluru Rural2

Davangere2

Chitradurga1

Dharwad1

Kodagu1

Tumakuru1

Details Awaited*58

151 7

143 7

12

4

DistrictCases

Ahmadabad32

Surat10

Gandhinagar9

Vadodara9

Rajkot7

Bhavnagar4

Porbandar3

Gir Somnath2

Kachchh1

Mahesana1

Botad1

Details Awaited*43

122

115

18

11

DistrictCases

Srinagar17

Bandipora11

Badgam7

Udhampur4

Jammu3

Rajauri3

Baramulla2

Pulwama2

Shopian2

Details Awaited*55

106

104

4

2

DistrictCases

Gurugram25

Faridabad6

Panipat4

Sirsa3

Panchkula2

Ambala1

Hisar1

Sonipat1

Palwal1

Details Awaited*40

84 25

60 25

25

1

DistrictCases

Kolkata15

Nadia5

Hooghly4

24 Paraganas North3

Medinipur East3

24 Paraganas South2

Howrah2

Medinipur West1

Details Awaited*45

80

73

10

3

DistrictCases

Shahid Bhagat Singh Nagar18

S.a.s Nagar9

Hoshiarpur5

Jalandhar5

Amritsar2

Ludhiana2

Patiala1

Details Awaited*26

68 11

70 9

4 3

6 1

DistrictCases

Patna5

Munger4

Saharsa2

Begusarai1

Lakhisarai1

Nalanda1

Siwan1

Details Awaited*15

30

31

0

1

DistrictCases

Marigaon2

Karimganj1

Nalbari1

Details Awaited*22

26

26

0

0

DistrictCases

Dehradun6

Pauri Garhwal1

Details Awaited*19

26 4

22 2

4 2

0

DistrictCases

Khordha3

Details Awaited*18

21 1

19

2 2

0

DistrictCases

Chandigarh16

Details Awaited*2

18

18

0

0

DistrictCases

Leh Ladakh11

Kargil2

Details Awaited*1

14

4

10

0

DistrictCases

Kangra3

Details Awaited*10

13 7

13 7

1

1

DistrictCases

North And Middle Andaman7

South Andamans3

10

10

0

0

DistrictCases

Raipur4

Bilaspur1

Durg1

Rajnandgaon1

Details Awaited*2

9

6

3

0

DistrictCases

North Goa2

South Goa1

Details Awaited*4

7

7

0

0

DistrictCases

Mahe1

Details Awaited*4

5

4

1

0

DistrictCases

Details Awaited*3

3

3

0

0

DistrictCases

Imphal West1

Details Awaited*1

2

2

0

0

1

1

0

0

DistrictCases

Details Awaited*1

1

1

0

0

[ad_2]

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *