Mumbai’s First Containment Zone, Worli Koliwada, is Covid-19-Free. It’s the Only Silver Lining for India’s Worst-Hit State

Coronavirus

Mumbai’s First Containment Zone, Worli Koliwada, is Covid-19-Free. It’s the Only Silver Lining for India’s Worst-Hit State

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

Much uncertainty amid the coronavirus lockdown still continues to prevail with the number of Covid-19 cases in the country’s financial hub, Mumbai crossing the 10,000-mark as of yesterday. Overall, Maharashtra noted the highest single-day jump yet on Wednesday with 1,233 new incoming cases, taking the state’s coronavirus numbers to 16,758. However, there might be a sliver of hope to hold on to.

Worli-Koliwada, which was Mumbai’s first containment zone, is to be de-contained today.

Part of G-south municipal ward, one of the city’s worst-affected with multiple containment zones, the Worli-Koliwada colony was declared a containment zone earlier on March 29, a day after it reported four positive cases. All four individuals were above the age of 50 and had no travel history nor any known contact with a Covid-19 positive person.

In what has proven to be a wise and prompt measure, the authorities were quick to seal the densely populated fisherman colony, restricting the movements of the residents and those of unauthorised people. In days to come, the number of infections in the village shot up but thanks to being under containment the cases were detected far quickly, making it easier to trace contacts and isolate them. Looking at the bigger picture, a wider spread of the virus was prevented right in time.

The effort to contain the spread of the infection in the fishing colony, however, was challenging due to its unique communal style of living. “A fishing village is a much more closely knit community than a slum,” Mumbai Mirror quoted a senior BMC officer. “All koliwadas have access to the sea, making it difficult to seal them. Koliwadas also have vast open spaces that are used to set up markets and to socialise. Social distancing here is next to impossible,” he stated.

The de-containment process is said to start early Thursday morning, May 7 with the removal of police barricades. As per Assistant Municipal Commissioner Sharad Ughade’s orders the cops patrolling the roads leading into Worli-Koliwada will also leave their post on Thursday morning.

Following the decontainment of Worli-Koliwada, the G-south ward now has de-contained 11 localities.

Free movement, once again, will be restored in most of the areas, although some of the smaller ones within the colony are likely to remain isolated. If all goes well, the fishermen could get back to business as this is peak fishing season before the monsoon. However, due to the possible crowding once the markets are opened, there is no confirmation from the municipal corporation for the same at the moment.

With the fishing village now settling into a new normalcy, the next step is predicted to be the lifting of containment zone restrictions from its neighbouring localities, Janata Colony and Jijamata Nagar.

Following the decontainment of Worli-Koliwada, the G-south ward now has de-contained 11 localities, nine of which were de-contained late last month. At present, the city has over 1,500 containment zones.

It remains unknown whether the migrants residing in the fishing village can go back to their villages as the state continues to follow lockdown-imposed quarantine.

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