Unnerving pics of Asia's largest slum where coronavirus claimed its first life — and can spread like wildfire

  • A 52-year old municipality worker from Dharavi was tested positive for COVID-19 and was advised treatment.
  • This is the second case of coronavirus in Dharavi. Just an hour before detecting him, a 46-hour old woman from Dombivali in Thane district succumbed to the disease at her home inching up the city’s death toll to 9.
  • A rise in coronavirus cases in Dharavi can put the lives of millions of people living in Mumbai, at risk.

The deadly coronavirus, which already infected 1,965 people in India, has entered a dangerous territory — Dharavi, Asia’s largest slum in Mumbai. It has already claimed one life in Dharavi and infected at least one other person.

A 52-year old municipality worker from Dharavi was tested positive for COVID-19 and was advised treatment. According to officials from the municipality, his condition is stable, and his family and 23 colleagues were asked to quarantine.

This is the second case of coronavirus in Dharavi. Just an hour before detecting him, a 46-hour old woman from Dombivali in Thane district succumbed to the disease at her home inching up the city’s death toll to 9.

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Densely-populated Dharavi is one of the largest slums in Asia. The man who succumbed to Covid-19 lived in a building constructed under the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) scheme, and had no foreign travel history. After he died at the government-run Sion Hospital, around 300 tenements in the building and around 30 shops were cordoned off by police.

These photos can explain how coronavirus can spread like wildfire in closely-knitted kaccha houses of Dharavi.

Here’s a look:

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The coronavirus outbreak in Dharavi might serve as a major challenge for the Uddhav Thackarey government which is struggling to contain the 280 active cases the state already has.
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Dharavi is home to 6.5 million people in Mumbai, recorded its first casualty due to coronavirus.
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Maharashtra’s health ministry said the first casualty in Dharavi is “a matter of concern” when a patient comes from such a congested area.
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The government is tracking the infected person’s contacts and isolating them but that would be difficult too.

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Government officials might face an issue isolating them as Dharavi residents the people haven’t changed their lifestyle since lockdown.

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A large number of people were spotted doing daily chores without practising social distancing. Whereas, some of them were just sitting idly.

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Dharavi is a residential hub for potters, recyclers, weavers, leather-makers, and artisans.

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Most of the homes are built on tiny plots of land, and lack basic necessities.

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Before coronavirus, Dharavi had already been facing issues like cramped buildings, lack of hygiene and sanitation, trash issues and water contamination.
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Moreover, there’s also a social stigma attached to the misery. The police faced stone-pelting as they tried to disperse a crowd that had gathered in the area after learning about the man's death, an official told PTI.
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A rise in coronavirus cases in Dharavi can put the lives of millions of people living in Mumbai, at risk.
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See also: Coronavirus cases in Maharashtra
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