On December 28, Mumbai reported 1,333 COVID-19 cases, which jumped to 2,445 the next day. Despite the fatality rate remaining considerably stable, the rapid rise in COVID infections has pushed the administration to rethink the restrictions to stop the surge. The state government has already re-introduced the night curfews in the city from 10 pm to 6 am. More restrictions are likely if the increase in daily cases continues in the upcoming days.
The state reported 3,900 cases on December 29, the highest since September 10 when it had registered 4,154 cases. The surge in COVID cases in Mumbai is highest since May 8, when it had reported 2,664 cases. The positivity rate in Mumbai has increased to 4.8%, whereas the same figure for the state is at 3.6%. The Omicron tally in Maharashtra stands at 252 with 85 new cases- 38 new cases have international travel history.
"Neither the state nor the city has witnessed such a rapid rise in COVID cases even in the first two waves. The third wave is here. It appears that there are three main reasons for the rise. The doubling rate is extremely high, people are getting mild symptoms, and most are breakthrough infections," said Dr Shashank Joshi, member of the Maharashtra task force. Joshi has tweeted the numbers showing how rapidly the third wave is coming into the city.
"Mumbai COVID cases doubling rate - 1st wave - 706 to 1367 - 12 days, 2nd wave - 683 to 1325 - 20 days, 3rd wave - 683 to 1377 - 4 days," he tweeted.
These numbers are enough to reflect the speed of infection. As numbers indicate a likely third wave in the city, the administration held a series of meetings to discuss the changing situation. Guardian minister Aditya Thackeray reached the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) headquarters to discuss the situation with BMC commissioner IC Chahal, Mayor Kishori Pednekar and other senior officials. They discussed more restrictions to curb the spread of the virus.
The BMC has banned all new year parties, gatherings, celebrations where the public could come together. Restaurants and hotels have been asked not to keep any parties or events for new year celebrations. Hotels, pubs, restaurants will be operating at 50% capacity.
"Attendance limits have been set for establishments, including hotels and restaurants. Ward offices are instructed to appoint flying squads, including the police, to ensure that it is complied with," said BMC commissioner IC Chahal.
The rise in numbers can also be seen in Thane and Pune. On December 19, Thane had 105 patients, which increased to 272 on December 27. Pune has reported 14 Omicron cases till now. On December 29, the city reported 239 new COVID infections. Pimpri- adjoining city to Pune, has eight Omicron cases and registered 83 new COVID cases yesterday. Pune was the worst-hit city after Mumbai in Maharashtra during the second wave. Pune's Guardian Minister Ajit Pawar is scheduled to hold a meeting with the municipality and Zila Parishad officials on Friday in Pune.
Meanwhile, BMC will start rolling out the third dose of the vaccine from January 3, covering health and front line workers, teenagers, and senior citizens. The city administration is tying up with Mumbai University and colleges for the vaccination of teenagers. As per the latest figures, 86% of the population in the city has received both vaccine doses.