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WHO chief says coronavirus can be contained, cites example of Dharavi


The World Health Organisation has acknowledged that the measures taken in Mumbai’s densely-packed Dharavi area had shown positive results in containing the coronavirus pandemic, saying community engagement and testing is key to breaking the chain of transmission and suppressing the virus.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus cited examples of several countries and said that it was certainly possible to break the chain of transmission of coronavirus, if the right measures are put in place.

“In Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, New Zealand, Italy, Spain, South Korea and even in Dharavi, a densely packed area in Mumbai, strong focus on community engagement and basics of testing, tracing, isolating and treating the sick is key to breaking chains of transmission and suppressing the virus,” the WHO chief said.

Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray termed the WHO chief’s remarks as a huge recognition of efforts of the government and the BMC.

“This is huge for our very own Dharavi that has chased the virus. State Govt and @mybmc teams, along with NGOs, Elected Representatives and most importantly, Dharavikars! Let’s keep this going! Thank you @WHO for recognising their efforts, and will keep going on,” the Shiv Sena leader wrote on Twitter.

Dharavi had once emerged as a COVID-19 hotspot. The first coronavirus patient in Dharavi was found on April 1, nearly three weeks after Mumbai recorded its maiden positive case on March 11.

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Dharavi currently has 166 active cases and 1,952 patients have been discharged from hospitals following recovery so far, the official said.

Dharavi, the largest slum in Asia, is spread across 2.5 square km and has a population of around 6.5 lakh with people living in tiny houses.

Over 27,000 COVID-19 cases take India’s case count beyond 8 lakh-mark, death toll at 22,123