Coronavirus in Mumbai: Stepped up contact tracing throws up 55,000 new cases

09:55 AM Sep 22, 2020 | Dipti Singh

Mumbai: Increased contact tracing by civic authorities has resulted in the detection of more than 55,000 suspected coronavirus cases in the city. This comes after BMC Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal directed officials to trace, at a minimum, 30 contacts of every person who tested positive in the city.

On Monday, the city reported 1,836 new Covid-19 cases and 17,890 of their high-risk contacts had been traced by the civic body. To control the spread of the virus, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has traced over 27 lakh high- and low-risk contacts of positive cases in the past seven months, since the first case of Covid-19 was detected in the city on March 11.


High-risk contacts are immediate family members or people with whom the infected person lives. They are include those who have interacted or been together with the patient for over 15 minutes in a closed environment. Low-risk contacts are those who have been in contact with the infected person for less than 15 minutes. This includes neighbours of the patient, shopkeepers or vendors the patient visited before testing positive.


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As of Monday, the number of cumulative cases reported in the city was 1,86,150 and deaths 8,502. The cases are expected to touch the 2-lakh mark in the coming days. According to the BMC, of the total cases detected in six months, nearly 70 percent are index cases, indicating they came in contact with an infected person.

Additional Municipal Commissioner (Health) Suresh Kakani said, “Tracing the maximum number of close contacts has been of great help to us in controlling the outbreak to a large extent. Around 70% of these cases are index cases, which means they are close contacts of someone who had tested positive earlier. The exercise of tracing close contacts of those testing positive is being followed diligently, on a daily basis.”

As of September 21, the BMC had traced 27,61,050 close contacts, of which 10,58,556 were identified as high-risk and 17,02,494 were identified as low-risk contacts. As on September 19, 23,57,611 people have already completed their quarantine.

"Maximum contact-tracing took place in the past three months. By June 9, we had traced around nine lakh highrisk and low-risk contacts, which went up to 15 lakh in the first week of July, followed by 21 lakh in mid-August. As on Monday, our tally of traced high-risk contacts has crossed 27 lakh," said another senior BMC official.

Earlier in June, Mumbai was reporting between 700 and 1,300 Covid-19 cases daily, until August 23, after which the number of cases began to show an upward spike. Starting September 1, there were 1,100 and 1,900 Covid-19 cases being reported daily. Just eight days after, this number went up to more than 2,000 cases daily. The number of active cases in the city has also gone up to 26,735 from the 18,170 reported on August 20. The BMC attributed this spike to Ganesh Chaturthi and Muharram, coupled with relaxations in lockdown norms and aggressive testing.

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