Mumbai could see “stringent measures (read lockdown)” if daily Covid cases cross the 20,000 mark, the city’s civic body chief Iqbal Singh Chahal told NDTV today in an exclusive interview, adding that 80 per cent of the daily cases are of the Omicron strain.
“This (more stringent lockdown-like restrictions) was debated and discussed in a meeting chaired by the Chief Minister on December 30. The general consensus was, instead of positivity being a benchmark for putting restrictions, or putting harsh kind of semi lockdowns, the new yardsticks should be your hospital beds availability, and people’s oxygen requirement. These should be new benchmarks, which should decide on the future restrictions,” said Mr Chahal, informing that the city has 30,000 beds.
“Even if we get 10,000 beds occupied every day, we can handle it,” he said.
“But if you find that things are going out of control, they (daily cases) go much beyond 20,000, then we have to take a call on that (more stringent lockdown-like restrictions),” he said, adding that they could consider enforcing more stringent restrictions if the daily cases breach the 20,000 mark.
“Right now we believe that even up to 20,000 cases a day, we will be comfortable in our hospitalizations, and comfortable in our oxygen requirement,” he said.
The remarks come amid a Covid surge driven by the new Omicron strain in Maharashtra and several other parts of the country.
“I have been taking inputs of my experts in the State’s Task Force… Their opinion is that Omicron is now 80% (of the Covid cases)… And this 80% also will touch 90% in the next few days; maybe it can touch in the next 5-7 days,” said the civic body chief.
Maharashtra has seen 67 lakh confirmed cases since the pandemic struck – the highest in the country. Following a dip after the second wave, the Covid numbers have been rising exponentially in the state, especially in capital Mumbai.
The state recorded 11,877 new Covid cases yesterday, 29 per cent higher than the day before. Mumbai alone accounted for 8,063 of the new infections.
On the aggressive rise in cases, the civic chief said, “Omicron is spreading in Mumbai mainly because of passengers coming from non-risk countries. In the last 35 days, almost 2,00,000 passengers arrived (in Mumbai, from non-risk countries). Many of them are carriers of Omicron virus.”