India's Largest Slum Dharavi Reports No New Covid-19 Case for First Time Since April

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The slum-dominated Dharavi area of Mumbai did not report a single coronavirus infection in the last 24 hours, a civic official said on Friday evening. For the first time since April 1 when the first coronavirus patient was detected in the area, which is among the densest urban settlements in the world, no new case has been detected.

The caseload of Dharavi now stands at 3,788, though the number of active cases is 12, eight of them in home isolation and four in a COVID care centre, the civic official said. So far, 3,464 people have recovered in Dharavi, where 6.5 lakh people are crammed into shanty colonies spread over 2.5 square kilometers.

Meanwhile, the seven-day rolling average of daily Covid-19 cases in India has fallen below the 25,000 mark as the caseload continues to decline in the country even as the threat of a new mutant strain from the UK has led to new restrictions across various cities and states.

India’s declining caseload has taken some pressure off the government. India has reported 23,067 fresh Covid-19 infections on Friday morning, according to the Health Ministry’s update. That included close to 97 lakh recoveries and 1.47 lakh deaths. Active cases have fallen below the 2.9-lakh mark.

The government, meanwhile, is considering making Covid-19 vaccine available for private use for those who can afford to pay even as inoculation of the vulnerable population is expected to begin early next year once a candidate is finalised. Government officials have said the prices may be subsidised in private markets, and the rollout could be similar to what is done for the influenza vaccine.

The government had earlier announced that India targets to vaccinate at least 300 million high-risk people by July next year. It is currently drafting a list of beneficiaries that includes about 30 million health care and frontline workers for the first phase.