Mumbai ready to be unlocked, but must let MMR stabilise: Iqbal Singh Chahal

MUMBAI: The city – where cases reported per day haven’t crossed 1,700 in two months – could have been ‘unlocked’ but for the growing number of Covid-19 cases in the broader Mumbai Metropolitan Region, BMC commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal said on Saturday.

He said Mumbai’s case growth rate is around 1%, but cases are on the rise in MMR (outside the city). “When MMR reaches where Mumbai is now, with a doubling rate of 64 days, we can restart the (local train) transport system,” he noted. Mumbai’s suburban train network now allows only the government’s essential workers and staff from private hospitals. Mumbai’s case growth rate has dropped from 6.7% in May to 1%.
Chahal said if in a city with a population of 20 million, less than 200 hospital beds are needed per day, the situation seems much better than before. “MMR has a population of around two crores and once local trains start, there would be a huge number of people coming into the city as trains start from as far as Kalyan and Nalasopara. Once MMR comes to a safe stage, I would myself recommend to the chief minister (Uddhav Thackeray) to open up everything,” Chahal said, adding how he, an avid swimmer, has himself been at the receiving end of the lockdown with swimming pools shut.