Graphic shows Dharavi slum in central Mumbai.
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HEALTH

Coronavirus hits India’s “Maximum City”

By Duncan Mil

May 18, 2020 - Mumbai, India’s most densely populated city, is now responsible for one in three of the nation’s coronavirus infections. Dharavi, India’s biggest slum, is particularly susceptible to the virus.

Located in the centre of Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra state, Dharavi has an estimated one million people crammed into 239 hectares of space. They work in the slum’s 15,000 work-live factories or as maids and chauffeurs to the financial capital’s residents. However, Dharavi is the most educated slum in the country, with a literacy rate of 69 per cent.

Dharavi’s narrow alleys, crowded housing and poor sanitation offer the perfect breeding ground for the virus. Dharavi has been under a severe lockdown since the coronavirus appeared in the slum. Virus hotspots include Matunga labour camp, Kumbharwada, Transit Camp and Naik Nagar, as well as along Cross Road, 90 Feet Road and 60 Feet Road.

The number of Covid-19 positive cases in Dharavi now stands at over 1,200, according to state health department data. Police are using drones to make sure people obey the strict lockdown.

Around 40,000 residents have undergone thermal screening, but virus tests have only been available to less than 700 people.

In an attempt to arrest the spread of Covid-19 Mumbai authorities plan to roll out the anti-malarial drug, hydroxychloroquine, as prophylaxis treatment in Dharavi and the fishing village of Worli Koliwada.

Maharashtra is leading in the country with the highest number of coronavirus infections, with 33,053 cases -- one-third of India’s 96,169 cases -- followed by Tamil Nadu with 11,224 and Delhi with 10,054, according to the MyGov Covid-19 dashboard.

The Maharashtra government on Sunday decided to extend the lockdown until May 31.

PUBLISHED: 18/05/2020; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: Getty Images, Google
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