The Centre has refused the request of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, Mumbai’s civic body, to allow door-to-door coronavirus vaccination of senior citizens suffering from physical disabilities, Mumbai Mirror reported on Sunday, citing an official.

Additional Municipal Commissioner (Health) Suresh Kakani said that the Centre turned down the BMC’s request, saying that there was no such policy. “There are nearly 1.5 lakh people in Mumbai who are old and bedridden or handicapped and can’t move out of their house for vaccination,” Kakani said. “We had written to the Centre to allow us permission to visit them to vaccinate them, but the central officials told us that there is no such policy. It would have really helped those who are confined to their homes.”

However, at the same time, the Union health ministry has said that it will extend the Covid-19 vaccination programme to the micro-level so that people do not have to travel more than 2 km to get the vaccination.

A senior health ministry official said that one of the most effective ways to control the infection was to vaccinate the population in a major way. He also explained why door-to-door vaccination would slow down the inoculation drive.

“If you vaccinate someone, you need to check on that person for any medical reaction for some time,” the official said. “If people are to be vaccinated at home it will take a lot of time for each vaccination team to give a jab to one single beneficiary. This way it will slow down the vaccination drive.”

Mumbai is currently witnessing a steep rise in coronavirus infections. On Monday, Mumbai recorded 5,888 new coronavirus cases, taking the city’s tally to 4,04,562. The toll rose to 11,661 with 12 new deaths. The active caseload in Maharashtra’s capital stood at 47,453.

Covid-19 beds just for ‘needy’: BMC

Amid the surge in Covid-19 cases, the BMC on Monday directed hospitals and nursing homes not to allot beds to asymptomatic patients, so that the beds are available for the “needy”, reported NDTV.

The civic body has also asked the medical facilities to discharge asymptomatic patients at the earliest to vacate beds for those with more serious symptoms.

On Sunday, Principal Secretary to state health department Dr Pradeep Vyas had predicted a “tremendous stress” on the availability of beds, oxygen supply, and ventilators. In a meeting with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Health Minister Rajesh Tope and other officials, Vyas said these things could fall short if cases continue to rise.

An official BMC release said that 80% of the total Covid-19 beds and 100% of the intensive care unit beds at private hospitals should be reserved for “ward war room” allotment to coronavirus patients only. Ward war rooms are rooms for every ward in the city to allot Covid-19 beds.

Mumbai to procure more Remdesivir

The BMC will order 1.5 lakh vials of antiviral drug Remdesivir and other medical equipment to avoid any potential shortage of medicines at hospitals, PTI reported on Monday, citing BMC’s additional municipal commissioner.

“We are worried due to the rising number of Covid-19 cases in the city, which is a hub of major industrial and financial institutions,” Suresh Kakani said. “To treat coronavirus positive patients, we need to buy as many as 1.5 lakh vials of Remdesivir injection so that we can cover maximum patients. We want to avoid any shortage of medicines by hospitals or treatment centres.”

Amid the steady increase in new coronavirus cases, the Maharashtra government has also recently decided to purchase additional oxygen cylinders and ventilators for various Covid-19 treatment centres.