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India heads towards third phase of “Covid19”; Death toll rises up to 20

Maharashtra Govt to provide shelter and food to migrant labourers

By Raju Vernekar
Mumbai, March 28

The country was heading towards third phase of “Covid19”, with 873 active cases and 20 deaths, even as Maharashtra and Kerala with maximum number of positive cases were  struggling to contain infection, on Saturday. 
With the death of a 69-year-old man at Kochi Medical College, the death toll rose to 20 on Saturday. This became the first death due to “Covid 19” in Kerala. “A 69-year-old man died due to Coronavirus, at Kochi Medical College on Saturday”, Ernakulam District Medical Officer Dr NK Kuttappan tweeted. 
The death toll across the country stood as  : Maharashtra 6, Gujarat 3, Karnataka 2, Madhya Pradesh 2, Bihar 1, Delhi 1, Himachal Pradesh 1, Kerala-01. J & K 1, Punjab 1, Tamil Nadu 1 and West Bengal 1. 
In Mumbai, the death of a 85 year old senior surgeon Dr Abiden Bahrainwala, attached to private hospitals, created a flutter on Friday. He was said to had come in contact with his relatives who had returned from England. Dr Abiden Bahrainwala, passed away at P D Hinduja Hospital in South Central Mumbai. His cardiac surgeon son and his son have also tested positive. Maharashtra Health Department maintained that since the deceased was treated privately, it would come out with its finding only after “verification”. 
Dr. Vernon Desa, Director (Medical governance and clinical compliance) of “Saifee Hospital”,  where Dr. Bahrainwala, was working, in a press statement said that “ Dr. Bahrainwala underwent a CT Scan at Saifee Hospital and was diagnosed as diagnostic for “Covid19”. He was transferred to the special isolation facility at P.D Hinduja Hospital where he subsequently died”. 
With sizable addition of new cases, the countrywide tally of positive cases stood as: Maharashtra-180, Kerala—173, Karnataka-55, Rajasthan-50, Telengana-48,Gujarat-45, Uttar Pradesh-45, Delhi-39, Punjab-38, Tamil Nadu-38, Haryana-33, Madhya Pradesh-20, J & K-18, West Bengal-15, Andhra Pradesh-14, Ladakh-13, Bihar-09, Chandigarh-08, Chhattisgarh-06, Uttarakhand-05, Goa-03, Himachal Pradesh-03, Odisha-03, Andaman and Nicobar-02, Manipur-01, Mizoram-01, Puducherry-01,
 The union ministry of health stated that 873 patients (826 Indians,47 foreigners) tested positive, 78 patients were cured and 15,24,266 passengers were screened at the airports, across the country. 
In another development, the Maharashtra Government has decided to provide shelter and food under the Epidemic Diseases Act 1897 (as amended) to migrant labourers working on various public projects in Mumbai and elsewhere and who are struck due to lock down. 
Under the plan a mapping of migrant labourers will be done and they will be accommodated in the schools run by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and other vacant public premises. There are a sizable number of workers, working on different upcoming metro rail projects in Maharashtra, including Mumbai, Thane, Pune and Nagpur. Since passenger train services have been cancelled, these workers are unable to return to their native places. Chief Ministers of Punjab, Rajasthan, Jharkhand and West Bengal have already requested to Maharashtra Chief Uddhav Thackeray to take care of migrant workers from their states, working in Maharashtra. The Union Home Secretary has also written to all States/Union Territories to take immediate steps for providing all adequate arrangements for the migrant workers, students who are still outside their states. 
In another development, the Maharashtra Government has began “contact tracing” campaign to find out whether any infected persons, including maid servants/ domestic helps, are residing in slums, to prevent “community transmission” of disease. There are thick pockets of slums in Mumbai, where the density of population is nearly 23,000/one square km. Most of the domestic helps reside in these slums. Recently a 68 year old maid servant, working for a 49 year old man, in a Central Mumbai apartment, was found to be infected. The man had  returned from USA on 7 March and the maid was found to be infected by 17 March. After she tested positive, she was admitted to Kasturba Hospital. Now BMC officials are having “testing” time to trace out how many people came in her contact, before she was admitted to the hospital. 
Out of estimated 2.50 crore population of Mumbai, nearly 41.3 per cent reside in slums. By and large the density of population is 73,000 per square mile. There are close to two lakh homeless people in Mumbai alone.

Raju Vernekar

Raju Vernekar is a Media Professional based in Mumbai and is a regular contributor of Imphal Times. He had served as Chief Reporter at Free Press Journal (1996 – 2015 ). His Activities includes writing for different news papers, script writing/production for TV channels, Films Division. Writing poems in Marathi, Hindi, English, Guiding mass media students and helping people to solve their problems. Raju may be contacted at [email protected]

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