Maharashtra is slowly becoming the epicentre of Coronavirus infection in India. For a long time, Maharashtra had the highest number of confirmed cases of Covid-19. On 23rd March, however, Kerala reported 28 new cases, surpassing the figures of Maharashtra.
Moreover, out of the seven deaths in India due to Covid-19, 2 have occurred in Maharashtra, the latest being of a 68-year-old man in Mumbai. But why is Maharashtra experiencing this huge spike in coronavirus infections?
It’s the over-crowding
Simple answer: the state is crowded. Mumbai, the financial capital of India, is the world’s second-most densely populated city in the world, with 26,357 persons per square kilometre. Delhi, on the other hand, has only 11,320 people per square kilometre.
Not just this. Mumbai’s local trains, the lifeline of the city, carries more than 7.5 million passengers daily, 3 times its capacity. This makes it the world’s busiest suburban rail network.
More people put together simply means more chances of the spread of the virus.
Mumbai is the hub for travellers
Maharashtra has five international airports in Mumbai, Pune, Shirdi, Aurangabad, and Nagpur. Not only this, but the state also has a port in Mumbai.
Mumbai saw 1.3 crore, international passengers, last year. Pune has about a footfall of 12 million passengers annually. Shirdi sees only 50,000 international passengers every month, Nagpur’s international airport can hold 10 lakh international passengers and Aurangabad airport is equipt to handle 150 international passengers per hour.
Even with these numbers, the overall passenger traffic of Maharashtra is less than Delhi’s international passenger traffic of 2 crore people annually. But, Maharashtra’s multiple entries and exit points make it difficult to monitor international traffic.
Everyone wants to work in Mumbai
Did you know that Mumbai is the most sought after destination for ex-pats to work in India? This is because the average pay for ex-pats is much higher in Mumbai than other prominent cities.
To give just an example: the global average ex-pat in the world earns $99,903. In San Francisco, he/she might earn $207,227 and $107,863 in London. But in Mumbai, an ex-pat could earn $217,165.
State under lockdown
Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Aurangabad are in the list of 75 districts that have been locked down in the wake of coronavirus pandemic. Even before this, the state government had placed Section 144 in certain areas in the view to stop the spread of this pandemic.
Despite this, cases of coronavirus were not stopping as people were not taking the required precautions. In the light of these events, Uddhav Thackeray, Chief Minister of Maharashtra, has announced a curfew. “Today I am compelled to announce a statewide curfew. People were not listening and we are compelled,” says Thackeray.
Let’s hope that with these new set of restrictions and bans, we would be able to control the spread of the novel Coronavirus pandemic. Remember, the onus lies on that one matchstick that hides and saves others after it.