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How The Mira-Bhayandar Officials Successfully Contained The Virus

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Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in India, the rural part of the Thane district-Mira-Bhayandar has seen very few positive cases even though it is closely attached to Mumbai, where the attack of virus has been severe.

Till now, Mumbai has more than 40,000 positive cases, with the death toll standing at more than 1,200. However, the whole Maharashtra has over 70,000 cases of the virus. Despite this high number, Mira-Bhayandar has 757 cumulative cases, of which 500 have already recovered fully and reached back home. On the other hand, the area is witnessing very few cases per day.

This clearly states that the recovery rate of Mira-Bhayandar is good as compared to its adjoining areas. Some media reports have stated that the recovery rate is nearly 45%.

Considering all this, can we simply say that the Mira-Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) has done their job well to contain the virus? If yes, then how? And if not, then why?

If Yes, Then How?

The Commissioner of the MBMC used a unique model; despite the state government allowing the opening of shops in non-containment zones, Mira-Bhayandar was under a complete lockdown with just home delivery being allowed for groceries, vegetables, and other essential services and products.

Image has been provided by the author.

In the initial stage of the lockdown, most shops were allowed to open between a certain time during the day, while following social distancing norms. However, the cases started increasing and made the officials tense, forcing them to curb all relaxation. This model can be attributed as the ‘MBMC Model’, which helped Mira-Bhayandar to contain the spread of virus on a large scale. The Commissioner has now allowed a lot of shops to open with social distancing norms and time restrictions.

A complete lockdown resulted well for Mira-Bhayandar, while the unlocking phase is also going good, with the allowance of bookstores to sell school books, rainwear, umbrella. Along with bookstores, rain footwear stores, hardware/paint stores, electrical appliances repairing shops, stationery shops, opticals and building construction material shops also remain open between 9am and 3pm in the view of the approaching monsoon and beginning of the new academic session.

If Not, Then Why?

There are various reasons that led to the rise of Covid-19 cases in the region, of which one was the slum area in Bhayandar West and East, where, due to congestion, it became impossible to follow social distancing norms. Due to this problem, the MBMC quarantined around 500 people from the Ganesh Deval Nagar chawl, where a person who used to work at BKC was tested positive. After that, some other people also got infected, which forced the municipal corporation to quarantine 500 people.

Notwithstanding this, a lot of people continue to come out of their houses to buy groceries and vegetables, which are being sold by people illegally. It is illegal because the MBMC has not allowed vendors to sit on roads for selling. But people kept on buying and the spread increased. Police officials used to do patrolling every two hours in containment zones and adjoining areas to stop people from coming out. Unfortunately, some people noted the time of patrolling and planned their schedule accordingly.

But still, due to various announcements by the MBMC, the police department and local corporates could’ve controlled the people better. However, Mira-Bhayandar witnessed its biggest relief after most people went back to their villages through Shramik Trains and buses arranged by a few MLAs. Many were also provided with private vehicle allowance and proper passes by the state government.

This is the reason we have seen very few people coming out nowadays. People are thanking the local officials for sending people back to their hometowns. Cases are under control now, as they have been for two months. The MBMC is doing its best along with police officials and some social workers to keep cases as low as possible.

The infrastructure in the hospital and treatment facility is good. This has also resulted in most people getting cured early. People must not fear the coronavirus as our will power is firmer than the virus’ desires. We are safe at home and officials are doing their best to keep us safe.

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