With coronavirus cases in Mumbai continuing to climb at an alarming rate, the chief of the city’s civic body Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) was replaced on Friday.
Praveen Pardeshi was replaced by Iqbal Chahal in a major shake-up in the agency that is in charge of the city’s COVID-19 response.
Mr Pardeshi has been transferred to the urban development department where Mr Chahal was posted.
The country’s financial and entertainment capital, which has emerged as the biggest hub of COVID-19 in India, has registered more than 11,000 coronavirus cases and over 400 deaths.
A spurt in cases from the densely packed economic centres of Mumbai, Delhi and Ahmedabad have taken the number of coronavirus cases across to the country past 55,000.
The central government on Thursday has said that Maharashtra was an area of particular concern and said it stood ready to help.
“The (government) is ready to help in every way possible – be it manpower increase, capacity building, technical assistance etc. or any kind of handholding that is required to manage the situation,” Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said at a meeting with state health officials.
The crisis has also opened Maharashtra’s Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress coalition government to attacks from the BJP which rules at the centre but sits in the opposition in the state.
Authorities in Maharashtra said they have responded to the crisis by ramping up tests, creating giant isolation centres and enforcing strict restrictions as part of the nationwide lockdown.
State Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Friday expressed confidence that Mumbai will see a sharp decline in COVID-19 cases in the next 15 to 20 days.