COVID-19: Half of Mumbai's population is living in containment zones

After over three months of lockdown and a month of gradual unlocking of the city, residents are hoping for more relaxations, but unfortunately, almost half of Mumbai's population continues to live in Containment Zones (CZs) or sealed buildings. According to BMC data, of the 1.24 crore people, 61.7 lakh live in the sealed areas, where no activity apart from essential services is allowed.

According to the guidelines issued from time to time, only grocery and medical shops are allowed in CZs. Also, shops and offices cannot be opened in buildings where even a single floor is sealed.

Civic health workers on their way to conduct door-to-door check-ups in Shri Ram Nagar at Kurar Village, Malad, on Monday. Pic/Satej Shinde
Civic health workers on their way to conduct door-to-door check-ups in Shri Ram Nagar at Kurar Village, Malad, on Monday. Pic/Satej Shinde

As per BMC data, the number of CZs, which are mostly in slums, has not changed much over the past one month. It might be because smaller zones have been merged to make big ones. According to the latest report, the city has 726 active CZs, which include 10.9 lakh households. About 47.1 lakh people are residing in these areas across the city, which include Bhandup, Mankhurd, Govandi and Kurla. While the number of active cases in Bhandup is increasing, Kurla is showing a downward trend as many of the slums there are sealed since the last month.

Simultaneously, the number of sealed buildings has doubled and currently 5,831 premises are sealed. This includes a total of 3.6 lakh households where 14.6 lakh people stay. While those residing on the floors where positive cases have not been detected can move out, commercial activities aren't allowed inside the premises.

"Many buildings have been completely sealed after a cluster of cases were reported. As the number of COVID-19 cases is increasing in buildings, the number of people within the ambit of these sealed areas is also increasing," said a BMC official. Borivli has the maximum number of sealed buildings. Even in Andheri, Vile Parle, Wadala and Malad the number of sealed buildings has increased sharply. In Mulund, where the cases increased three-fold in the last month (from 785 on May 31 to 2,441 on June 28), the number of CZs and sealed buildings have also increased.

Speaking to mid-day, activist Nikhil Desai said, "On June 1, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had said that there would be no more lockdowns. Municipal commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal told the media on June 20 that the city would be able to breathe easy by July 15, when the number of fresh cases is expected to come down to 100-200 per day. Then what is this new lockdown till July 31?"

726
Total no. of CZs in the city (as of June 27)

5,831
Total no. of sealed buildings in the city (as of June 27)