Wankhede cricket stadium in Mumbai, India. (Photo: AFP)
MUMBAI, May 16 (Xinhua) -- With hospitals over-flowing with COVID-19 patients, India's financial capital Mumbai has now decided to convert its iconic cricket stadium in the city into a quarantine facility.
Established in 1974, the cricket stadium, spreading over 13 hectares including 7.5 hectares for a private club house, has a seating capacity of over 33,000 spectators.
The city civic authority has written a letter to Mumbai Cricket Association seeking custody of the stadium to turn into a quarantine facility as Mumbai is expected to see a surge in COVID-19 cases in the next two weeks, according to civic officials.
According to an internal assessment made by BMC, civic officials indicated that the COVID-19 cases in the city are expected to rise to over 45,000 confirmed cases by May-end.
The conversion of the stadium into a quarantine facility is also in light of the fresh cases of the COVID-19 reported for the past two days, with 998 cases on Thursday and 983 cases on Friday, and the city's total confirmed cases of 17,500, which accounts for 20 percent of the nation's total cases.
The civic hospitals within the city have not been able to cope up with the rising cases that has led to opening up of several Covid Care Centers (CCC) in the city. The CCC-1 where suspects or contacts with COVID-19 patients are admitted has been expanded to nearly 23,000 beds, while CCC-2 housing asymptomatic positive or mild cases have been enhanced to over 34,250 beds across 241 locations.
The state's police force is also hit by the virus as they are under severe stress to maintain the lockdown for the past six weeks, which is set to get further extended in Mumbai till May 31. Maharashtra, with Mumbai as its political capital, has tested 150 policemen positive for the COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, taking the total count to 1,153 among the state police force.
As per the official update on Saturday, India has 85,940 COVID-19 cases including 2,752 deaths.