E-Pass facility launched for Mumbai’s trains
Maharashtra government launched an online e-pass facility on August 12 to enable fully vaccinated people to travel in suburban trains in Mumbai from Independence Day onwards. Officials said that the state’s Relief and Rehabilitation Department had developed a web link to provide e-passes to employees and essential workers.
The same link will now make e-passes available to fully vaccinated citizens who have completed 14 days after their second dose, for Mumbai suburban railway travel. The digital process will not be a replacement for the offline ticketing system which will continue to be available all seven days of a week. Currently, Mumbaikars have to present their monthly train pass, vaccination certificates, and a photo ID in order to make use of the local railways.
BMC begins fifth sero-survey in Mumabi
Mumbai will now see its fifth sero-valence survey which helps authorities in determining the extent of past exposure to COVID-19 in the city and also gauge the spread of the infection. Beginning August 12, BMC in collaboration with IDFC Institute and ATE Chandra Foundation will commence sero surveys in all wards of the metropolitan through municipal dispensaries and selected clinics with General Medical Practictioners. According to officials, approximately 8,000 samples will be collected and tested at the Sion Hospital. In the previous sero-survey which was conducted on a national scale, data revealed that almost half of Mumbai’s under-18 population had been exposed to COVID-19 and developed anti-bodies against it.
30-year-old Dadar fish market demolished
On August 9, BMC demolished a three decade old fresh water fish market at Dadar’s Senapati Bapat Marg. There were 37 official fish-sellers; 27 have been allocated shops in Airoli and 10 who refused to move to Airoli were given space at a market in Marol. However, little is known about how the fish-sellers are expected to commute to Airoli (about 30 km from Dadar) and Marol (15 km from Dadar) especially at a time when local trains are shut to the unvaccinated. This isn’t the first instance of conflict between fishing communities and the city’s civic body. Last month, fisherwomen located in the dilapidated CST market protested BMC’s decision to move them to Airoli, Mulund, Andheri, Borivali and Dahisar. Sadhna Koli told Times of India, “I have been selling fish here for the past 45 years and my sister for 60 years. Now they want us to go to Andheri and Borivali and set up stalls there. Is that possible?”. The women also pointed out the discrimination being mete out to them as BMC had made provisions for male meat sellers to continue working in an area adjoining CST Market.
Post COVID-19 heart disease on the rise in Mumbai
City doctors said they have been lately seeing younger patients who have developed heart-related issues after suffering from COVID-19. Dr Sudhir Pillai, cardiologist at P D Hinduja Hospital, told Mid-Day, “Any inflammatory condition can cause heart attacks. Since Covid is affecting more people than dengue or any other virus, the number of patients getting heart attacks is higher.” Doctors advise those recovering from COVID-19 should have regular cardiac screenings, adhere to healthy diets, stay physically active and take any blood thinning medication as prescribed by their doctor.
LPG tank leaks in Kasturba Hospital
A leakage occurred in the LPG tank of the BMC-run Kasturba Hospital near Saat Raasta leading to 77 people, including 12 Covid-19 patients, being shifted out. A fire official said an earth-moving machine on the premises possibly hit the tank, causing the leakage. While there were no casualites, and patients remained in stable conditions according to the hospital, some recommend that civic authorities conduct a thorough investigation into Kasturba Hospital’s hazard and safety protocols. The hospital fire that claimed 4 lives in Thane two months ago was supposed to have jolted local administration into increasing the rigour and frequency of their maintenance and security checks for Mumbai’s hospitals. However, little has been done since.
Mumbai schools to tentatively re-open on August 17
On August 10, Maharashtra’s government came out with a detailed SOP for schools, which will reopen from August 17. The state government has directed setting up of a four-member committee headed by Municipal Commissioners in Mumbai, Mumbai Suburban and Thane to take a decision on reopening schools in their respective jurisdiction.
The COVID-19 and paediatric task-forces of the state are opposed to this decision. Meanwhile, teachers of unaided BMC schools have declared they will boycott online classes if they are not provided with salary increments. A primary school teacher who did not receive an increment in 2020 as well told Times of India, “We had to buy laptops, mobiles, and internet connectivity to conduct online classes. Our travel has reduced but our workload has doubled.”
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