Mumbai reported only 700 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, the lowest in three months, Maharashtra minister Aaditya Thackeray said. He called this a “major relief” but asked citizens to continue to remain vigilant. “Don’t let your mask down, only get numbers down,” Thackeray tweeted.

The city clocked its lowest tally of cases on a day when the highest number of tests – almost 9,000 – were conducted, according to NDTV. Of the 8,776 tests conducted on Monday, around 700 samples were positive, which is the lowest in 100 days.

Mumbai’s total tally of infections neared 1.11 lakh on Tuesday. The toll from the outbreak in the city has crossed 6,100. Till Monday evening, Mumbai had reported 21,812 active cases. In comparison, neighbouring Thane had 34,471 active cases and Pune had 48,672 active cases.

The recovery rate has also improved significantly in the city, which had suffered the worst from the outbreak initially. Mumbai’s doubling rate is 68 days now and its recovery rate is 73%. The overall growth rate of coronavirus cases between July 20 to July 26 was 1.03%.

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Healthcare expenditure of Rs 610 crore

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has so far spent Rs 610 crore from its health budget and contingency fund to tackle the pandemic, according to The Indian Express. A significant proportion of the expenditure, Rs 250 crore, has been spent on setting up healthcare infrastructure such as quarantine centres and Covid care centres.

For the financial year of 2020-’21, the civic body had allocated Rs 4,260.30 crore, or 12.7% of its total budget (Rs 33,441.02 crore) to its health department. Out of this, Rs 1,049.07 crore was set to be spent on capital expenditures such as infrastructure and equipment, while Rs 3,211.2 crore was allocated for revenue expenses like salaries and medicines. The expenditure on treating people for Covid-19 accounts for 14.3% of this year’s BMC health budget, according to the report.

Civic officials said that for as long as the pandemic is there, other infrastructure projects such as hostels for resident doctors and new hospital redevelopment plans may have to be put on hold. BMC Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal told The Indian Express that the civic body’s revenue has gone down by Rs 3,000 crore. “Every institution is suffering, so are we,” he added. “In the next general body meeting, we will plan on how to cut our expenses.”

Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani said the civic body is planning to divert patients from local Covid care centres to larger super speciality hospitals. “We have asked each ward to maintain one or maximum two Covid care centres,” he added. “Slowly, we are setting up quarantine centres at the ward level.”

Pawar demands resumption of local trains

Meanwhile, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday demanded the resumption of local trains and metro services in Maharashtra, News18 reported. “Locals and metros have to start...Centre has to help the states,” Pawar told the channel. “Railways should step in and bring back migrant labourers.”

On June 30, the Maharashtra government had announced the extension of lockdown measures in the state till July 31. Under it, it banned all Metro Rail and Suburban trains services except for people providing essential services. Earlier this month, the Mumbai Police had imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure in the city till July 15, amid a surge in the number of coronavirus cases.

Maharashtra has reported 1,47,896 coronavirus cases, including 13,883 deaths as of Tuesday, according to the Union health ministry.