WHO lauds Dharavi model’s success in breaking COVID-19 transmission chain

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday lauded the Dharavi model to fight the coronavirus pandemic after Asia’s largest slum reported a single-digit rise in COVID-19 cases for three consecutive days even as the number of infected persons continues to rise in Mumbai. 

Dharavi in Mumbai reported 12 new coronavirus cases on Friday, after recording one, three and nine new cases on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. 

Speaking at a media briefing on Friday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “Only aggressive action combined with national unity and global solidarity can turn the COVID19 pandemic around.”

“There are many many examples from around the world that have shown that even if the COVID19 outbreak is very intense, it can still be brought back under control,” he further said. 

Citing various examples where the fight against coronavirus has yielded impressive results, Dr Tedros said, “In Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, New Zealand, Italy, Spain and South Korea and even in Dharavi, a densely packed area in Mumbai, a strong focus on community engagement and the basics of testing, tracing, isolating and treating all those that are sick is key to breaking the chains of transmission and suppressing the virus.”

Dharavi, the largest slum in Asia, is spread across 2.5 square km and has a population of around 6.5 lakh with most of the people living in tiny houses or shanties. They also have to share community toilets as rarely a house in the area has a separate toilet. 

While Maharashtra is the worst-affected state in the country, Mumbai has recorded the highest number of COVID-19 cases for any city in India. 

The tally of coronavirus cases in Mumbai crossed the 90,000-mark on Friday with 1,354 new patients coming to light, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said.  The death toll in the city has reached 5,202 with 73 new fatalities.

Dharavi, on the other hand, has recorded 2,359 total cases with 12 new cases coming to light on Friday. The area currently has 166 active cases and 1,952 patients have been discharged from hospitals following recovery so far. 

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