India's financial capital is in the throes of a COVID-19 crisis. ▲ Valli Ilaiyaraaja in her Dharavi home. Led by an energetic municipal manager named Kiran Dighavkar, who was also in charge of the slum’s Covid-19 response, people in Dharavi are now trying to restart their economic lives without seeding new outbreaks. Qureshi, a stout, thick-fingered man of 43 whose father founded the operation, mostly ignored his feline workplace companions. Bhoyar knew the way and soon found what she was looking for: the home of an elderly couple who’d just tested positive and were being treated in hospital. (Rafiq Maqbool / … Bhoyar patiently explained that the man’s 9-year-old daughter was friends with one of the brothers’ children, and often visited their house to play. He’d been spending his days sitting on a plastic chair, drinking cup after cup of milk tea and chatting with other Dharavi entrepreneurs, all of them part of Mumbai’s fearsomely efficient but completely informal recycling industry, who stopped by to talk business. Sign up for our special edition newsletter to get a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic. Just beyond is a bright workshop, where during a recent visit eight artisans sat cross-legged at workstations spaced about two feet apart—considerably less jammed-in than they would have been before this year. The front line of Dighavkar’s plan will be made up of women. 62,762, This story has been shared 42,052 times. “Now we have to live with this disease,” Dighavkar said in an interview at a temporary hospital, one of several he’d established to handle Covid-19 cases. Contact tracing suggested otherwise. It was likely the country’s largest forced migration since Partition, the violent 1947 division of India and Pakistan—and had the unintended result of spreading the coronavirus deep into rural areas. Normally, Khwaja Qureshi’s recycling facility in Dharavi, the slum in Mumbai, would be no place for three newborn tabby kittens. ▲ Dr. Asad Khan (center) and Dighavkar at a field hospital. The country has recorded more than 6.5 million confirmed cases—putting it on track to soon overtake the U.S.—and over 103,000 deaths. Qureshi’s own family is a case in point. Thanks to an aggressive response by local officials and the active participation of residents, the slum has gone from what looked like an out-of-control outbreak in April and May to a late-September average of 1.3 cases per day for every 100,000 residents, compared with about 7 per 100,000 in Portugal. A large segment of the slum work force participates in … NEW DELHI — India crossed 1 million coronavirus cases on... Post was not sent - check your email addresses! While area-wise it measures just about 2.4 square kilometres (sq kms), Dharavi alone has more than one million people. In the first sero survey, the BMC found 57% infection prevalence in slums. Many slum residents in the Indian city of Mumbai have developed antibodies for the novel coronavirus, a new study showed. Link Copied. Mumbai, with a population of 12.4 million – half of whom live in slums where the population density can reach 270,000 people per sq km – was always going to be a coronavirus hotbed. Last year he was named assistant municipal commissioner for G Ward North, a swath of Mumbai that includes the slum. The challenge in Dharavi is to reclaim this vitality safely. Antibody surveys over the summer found that almost 60% of the population in certain Mumbai slums had coronavirus antibodies, indicating that a degree of herd immunity could be at work. How a packed slum in Mumbai beat back the coronavirus, as India’s cases continue to soar People who have recovered from the coronavirus wait to … It has 5,000 small factories which pay taxes and some 15,000 single-room workshops. Four family members of a 68-year-old female patient who worked as a domestic help in Mumbai have tested negative for the coronavirus disease, or Covid-19, … No one had much hope that things would pick up soon. Outside the slum, more than 4,700 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in India, and 136 people have died. The problem, for International Footsteps as well as other businesses in Dharavi, is that “everyone” isn’t who it used to be. Beggars had returned to intersections, though usually wearing masks as they shuffled from car to car. Now its people need to survive an economic catastrophe. The irony is that Dharavi, which has a population of about 1 million and is probably the most densely packed human settlement on Earth, has largely contained the coronavirus. Its maze of tarpaulin tents and illegally built tenements and workshops have traditionally served as a commercial engine for all of Mumbai, a frenetic crossroads of exchange and entrepreneurship at the heart of India’s financial capital. But Dighavkar’s workers gradually won their trust, thanks in part to residents returning from quarantine telling of a comfortable stay and competent care. A study commissioned by the city of Mumbai revealed on Tuesday that over half of the people living in its famously crowded slums have antibodies for the Wuhan coronavirus in their blood. It showed high proportion of asymptomatic COVID-19 infection in the city. But only 30% of its personnel have resumed their jobs, mostly Dharavi locals, leaving the company well short of the numbers it might need to fill large orders. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), Mumbai's main municipal authority, has set up camps in various residential areas and slums to trace COVID-19 patients. A 56-year-old man who lived in Dharavi, India’s largest slum, where almost 1 million people are densely packed together in a 2 sq km area in Mumbai, had tested positive for coronavirus. It is India ’s most densely populated city, a scraggly peninsula framed by … Meanwhile, Mumbai’s government had begun floating ideas for a redevelopment, one that would replace lopsided squatters’ homes with modern apartments and move factories and workshops into purpose-built quarters, probably elsewhere in the metropolis. Covid-19 cases recorded in Mumbai's G/S ward where the Worli-Koliwada slum -- the first slum settlement to be hit by the virus in Mumbai -- is located, shot from one to 68 in less than a week. Five workers were there 12 hours a day, seven days a week, dumping crushed water bottles, broken television casings, and discarded lunchboxes into a roaring iron shredder, then loading the resulting mix of plastic into jute sacks for sale to manufacturers. M East Ward, one of the poorest areas in the city, has reported 80 positive cases so far. By July some parts of Dharavi were coming slowly back to life. “Herd immunity” works under the theory that the spread of COVID-19 is neutralized faster if it is allowed to run through the population — in contrast to the social-distancing guidelines put in place over much of the world. “This is our own invention. It’s a substantial commitment of resources, but the human and economic toll of a renewed outbreak would be far larger. Mumbai: The 125,000 slum-dwellers living under a lockdown so strict that … Suraj Ahmed was one of the few who’d come back—in his case from a small village in Uttar Pradesh. Mumbai washes its hands of lakhs, do’s & don’ts don’t matter here While Maharashtra has seen 45 cases of infections and a death from coronavirus, there has been no evidence of community transmission. She was one of the group’s few professionals, a registered nurse assigned to guide the less-experienced workers. A place with more people than San Francisco, crammed into an area smaller than Central Park, is hardly a promising environment for social distancing. The idea is to send them house to house, day after day, in continuous sweeps of every part of the slum, and to keep doing it until the end of the pandemic. Possible alternatives for Mumbai slums in a post-COVID-19 world. So the company was letting him stay on the premises for free, until he could find a more permanent arrangement. The country now has 1.5 million confirmed cases of the deadly bug, with more than 34,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. ▲ Khwaja Qureshi is waiting for his employees to return. On a muggy summer day, seven anxious-looking people, all wearing masks, stepped off a minibus and into a large vinyl tent that had taken over a parking lot on Dharavi’s outskirts. The city is facing a stiff challenge in its fight against COVID-19 with the virus entering densely populated slums and chawls where social distancing is impractical. Just behind, in a sealed-off observation booth, Dr. Asad Khan issued instructions through a microphone while observing the camera feed on a monitor. Covid-19: Crucial test in Mumbai slums brings focus on debate around herd immunity. Health workers conduct temperature checks in Dharavi slums of Mumbai on July 8, … Dharavi’s first coronavirus case was posthumous. But he was more impressed with the 10% raise he’d received for coming back to work. “Mumbai’s slums may have reached herd immunity,” Jayaprakash Muliyil, chair of the Science Advisory Committee of Indian’s National Institute of Epidemiology told the outlet. As Bhoyar spoke, a city sanitation worker stepped forward to spray the house with disinfectant. “The other is that herd immunity has been reached.”, “The virus does its work,” he said. Yet, the shantytown has seen steep drops of coronavirus cases in recent weeks, even as India has seen cases grow at one of the globe’s fastest rates since April. The consensus was pessimistic. December 23, 2020 Rahul Kadri. With rare exceptions, no one could leave the area, not that there was anywhere to go: The rest of the city, and all of India, were locked down, too, though usually with much lighter enforcement. His father was born in the hinterland to a poor tenant farmer but moved to Dharavi to work in a textile factory, getting into the recycling business after he realized the value of the plastic packaging that new spools of thread arrived in. Researchers concede that the slums do tend to have younger residents compared to the general population. But it’s a financial catastrophe for people like Ilaiyaraaja. “Once the factories start again, maybe we’ll get more cases,” he said in his office. 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 … There, if you skip between a puddle of foul water and a dead rat, then duck beneath a tangle of electrical wires, you’ll come to a dark, damp tunnel leading to what feels like a different world. Mumbai: More than half of the people living in Mumbai ‘s sprawling slums are probably infected with the novel coronavirus, which suggests the metropolis could be heading toward herd immunity, a government official and a health expert said on Wednesday, citing a recent survey. The coronavirus outbreak has shined a spotlight on the often overlooked underbelly of India’s ‘City of Dreams’ –– the slums and other informal settlements where about 49 percent of its population resides. There were only about 2,000 confirmed infections in India at the time, mostly traceable to international travel, and the news seemed to indicate a serious problem. ▲ Bhoyar prepares to visit Dharavi residents. The first COVID-19 death in a Mumbai slum has fuelled concerns of the coronavirus spreading unchecked in informal settlements and refugee … But the man, who said he worked as a sales manager at an insurance company, making him prosperous by local standards, was reluctant. Over half the people living in the slums of Mumbai have had the coronavirus, according to a city-commissioned study that raises fresh doubts about India’s official case numbers. This serosurvey was conducted between October 5 and 10 at five locations. That’s not enough to pay for the cost of traveling to their home village in South India, where they could live rent-free, nor to cover school tuition for the girls. By the 1930s it was attracting other migrants: potters from Gujarat, crafters of gold and silver embroidery from north India, and leather workers from the Tamil-speaking south, among many others. MUMBAI: The Covid-19 tally in Dharavi, the biggest slum in Mumbai, rose to 3,741 on Thursday with the addition of five cases, a senior official of … With the global economic slump depressing activity in cities, a large proportion of the migrants have stayed in the countryside. It also offered to cover the cost of transportation back to the city and is looking into securing more spacious housing—maybe even with the luxury of an attached toilet—for staff who return. Mumbai, where about 40 percent of the population lives in slums, has reported just over 110,000 infections and more than 6,000 deaths so far. Dighavkar, who is 37 and a civil engineer by training, came to Dharavi with modest ambitions. ▲ Bhoyar instructing residents on protective measures. A sero-survey conducted in Mumbai showed that more than half the people, or 57 per cent, tested in slums had been exposed to and developed antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 virus as compared to only 16 per cent of those tested in residential societies. The thermal camera and Khan’s questioning had prevented that outcome—evidence, to Dighavkar, that the system was working. International Footsteps tried to keep connected with its workers, paying them 80% of their salaries for the first month of lockdown and 60% for the second. At the very least, people had to come out to use the toilet, to fill water bottles from public taps, and to collect food packets donated by charities. Connecting decision makers to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas, Bloomberg quickly and accurately delivers business and financial information, news and insight around the world. Indian health authorities have confirmed cases in Dharavi, the Mumbai slum made famous in “Slumdog Millionaire.” Opinion: In world’s megacities, understanding housing is … Slums in India are bucking the coronavirus uptick thanks to “herd immunity,” according to a new study.. About 57 percent of the nearly 7,000 people surveyed in the crowded slums of Mumbai … The negative economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic will be disproportionately felt by residents of slums. More than half of residents living in Mumbai's crowded slums may have contracted coronavirus and are likely being infected at a much higher rate than those not living in slum … Infections were soon spreading rapidly, prompting the Mumbai government to impose draconian containment measures. Dighavkar, watching from inside the booth, was pleased. By July the number of new cases had declined to an average of 10 a day, compared with 45 per day in May, although the figure has since ticked modestly upward. Slum self development . She and her three young daughters now depend entirely on her husband, who lost his job as a welder during the lockdown and is making just 100 rupees ($1.37) a day loading trucks. This has resulted in some inconvenience for Mumbai’s middle and upper classes—one local company had to suspend sales of dishwashers because of an overwhelming volume of orders. But successive consultations, proposals, tenders, and visioning exercises failed to settle on any plan. The neighbor’s family wouldn’t have to quarantine, she said, but would be visited again to see if anyone had developed symptoms. That’s compared to the 21.2 percent immunity rate in the Big Apple in April, and the 14 percent rate in Stockholm in May, Bloomberg News said. Now its people need to survive an economic catastrophe. “This is the procedure. That was due in part to opposition from residents, who pointed out that even if renovations brought better housing, their jobs might be relocated to distant industrial parks. Managers had cleared out some upstairs storage space to allow more distance between each employee, and all of them were wearing disposable smocks, masks, and plastic face shields, purchased at the company’s expense. A few minutes later they climbed back into their vehicle and were driven away. The slum is home to thriving leather, pottery and textile stitching businesses. Deprivation abounded, but Dharavi could also be a social accelerator, allowing the poorest to begin their long climb to greater prosperity—and to joining the consumer class that powers the $3 trillion Indian economy. This story has been shared 116,963 times. WHO lauds Dharavi's efforts. With snack bars and mess halls shut, even those who could afford food struggled to find enough to eat. Soon, Bhoyar approached a neighbor, who was skeptical that he was at risk, claiming that he and his wife didn’t even know the people who’d been infected. “We have to make sure safety measures are taken.” His most urgent priority was to get as much protective gear to workers as possible. Privacy Notice Sitemap May 14, 2020. Mumbai washes its hands of lakhs, do’s & don’ts don’t matter here. Do Not Sell My Personal Information. A bus going to the wrong facility was a harmless mix-up, but letting seven potentially healthy people interact with infectious Covid-19 patients would have been a disaster. The coronavirus problem that India had feared is becoming reality in Mumbai. Case in a Mumbai slum: Officials hit tracking hurdle; Case in a Mumbai slum: Officials hit tracking hurdle The first case perhaps in India where a slum-dweller has contracted COVID-19 infection has thrown open the challenges of community tracing in a dense slum where over 23,000 people are huddled in less than a square kilometre of land. It’s also a remarkable contrast to the disaster unfolding in the rest of India. The protection raises costs, “but it’s required for the safety of everyone,” said floor manager Vijayanti Kewlani, who’d donned the same gear. With more than 60,000 total cases, Mumbai is responsible for roughly a sixth of all of India's infections. Past the double doors the group entered a spacious holding area monitored by a thermal camera on a tripod. “Dharavi is a hub of activity, and we cannot let it go.”, Watch: How India’s Biggest Slum Contained Covid. But in slums such as these, with population densities among the highest anywhere in the world, social distancing is an impossibility. His previous posting was in the historic core, where his signature project had been the construction of a viewing platform in front of Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, an architecturally spectacular Victorian rail hub, that allowed tourists to snap photos without dashing into traffic. Many had little choice but to go home, a journey that had to be made on foot, because the government had suspended train and bus services to contain infections. Fabric wholesalers had rolled up their steel shutters, while corner stores were again places for groups of local women to meet and chat. So the family is in limbo, waiting both for the economy to pick up and for the stigma attached to slum dwellers to fade. Social distancing is virtually impossible in the Mumbai slums, which packs a population similar to San Francisco into an area the size of Central Park, and where it is not uncommon for a family of eight to live in a 100-square-foot room. Mumbai: The 125,000 slum-dwellers living under a lockdown so strict that drones monitor their moves and alert police if they attempt to leave home are some of the measures to contain the coronavirus. WHO Acknowledges Successful Containment of COVID-19 in Mumbai's Dharavi Slum. This is the first time since April 1, when the first coronavirus case was reported in … Do Not Sell My Personal Information, Your California Privacy Rights Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Contactless entry.”. When the system detected a fever, the monitor was supposed to show a red box around a patient, while normal temperatures would prompt a green box. It is also Mumbai… Mumbai reported 581 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, taking the total case count to 2,95,241, according to a statement released by the state government. A woman who recovered from COVID-19 donates blood plasma in Dharavi, Mumbai's largest slum. “If people in Mumbai want a safe place to avoid infection, they should probably go there.”. COVID-19 Mumbai Case: A second coronavirus case has been reported from Mumbai's Dharavi, Asia's largest slum, in less than 24 hours, heightening worries of a … But in slums such as these, with population densities among the highest anywhere in the world, social distancing is an impossibility. We've received your submission. Slums in Mumbai have a number of disadvantages built into their fabric, and are witnessing a high number of COVID-19 cases, which makes these … Mumbai’s slums, where an estimated 40 per cent of the city’s 20m population lives, are particularly susceptible to the spread of Covid-19. Meghan Markle changes her name on Archie's birth certificate, Meghan Markle says Palace is behind decision to change Archie's birth certificate, Amateur treasure hunter finds $2.5M gold headpiece from Henry VIII's lost crown, Son found dead in luxury NYC pad with mother was an actor, Next pandemic could be a potentially deadly fungus. Before efforts to contain the novel coronavirus idled much of the Indian economy, the 350-square-foot concrete room was a hive of nonstop industry. At just 270 confirmed deaths, Dharavi has one of the lowest Covid-19 fatality rates of any urban area in India, and methods developed there are now being rolled out across the country as the disease tears through smaller cities. “The virus doesn’t worry about your quarantine and it is much more efficient than your efforts to contain it.”. What worried Dighavkar was the prospect of reopening factories—cramped, poorly ventilated places where laborers spend hours on end, elbow-to-elbow. Mumbai's slums have emerged as hotbeds for Covid-19, and is adding to the rising cases of infections in the city.With Dharavi already in the spotlight for a steadily increasing the coronavirus count, other areas in the city like Worli Koliwada and Govandi have also emerged as virus clusters. Whole streets were sealed off behind checkpoints, with officers on patrol and camera-equipped drones buzzing overhead.

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