Mask Refuseniks on Radar, Those in Home Quarantine to Sport Stamps: BMC Tightens Curbs Amid Fresh Cases

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Apart from a strict weekend clampdown in two Vidarbha districts, fresh curbs have also been announced for Mumbai as Maharashtra reported a 75-day high in fresh infections on Thursday.

As per the new rules, if five or more Covid-19 patients are found in a building, it will be sealed. Maharashtra on Thursday evening recorded 5,427 new Covid-19 cases. Of these, 736 cases were reported from Mumbai.

"Hands of those in home quarantine will be stamped. At least 300 marshals will be hired to keep an eye on people travelling in local trains without a face mask. Besides, additional marshals will be hired to keep an eye on violators in Mumbai," BMC Commissioner IS Chahal said.

Chahal also clarified that the BMC has just made the existing SOPs stringent in order to curb the further spread of coronavirus in Mumbai city.

As per fresh guidelines, wearing masks has become mandatory for people in all public places, otherwise, a fine of Rs 200 will be imposed. Moreover, wedding halls, clubs, and restaurants etc will be raided to check if they are flouting Covid-19 rules. No gatherings will be held without attendees wearing masks.

Wearing masks is also mandatory in public transport including, local trains.

The BMC guidelines also state that those returning from Brazil will have to undergo mandatory institutional quarantine. Tests will be increased in areas where more patients are found, said BMC Commissioner Chahal.

Meanwhile, Amravati administration has announced a weekend lockdown in the district, from 8 pm on Saturday to 7 am on Monday, a period during which markets and other establishments will remain shut, in view of the surge in coronavirus cases. However, essential services will remain unaffected, it said. Collector Shailesh Naval said on weekdays, all establishments, including hotels and restaurants, would stay open only till 8 pm (from earlier 10 pm).

Similarly, administration in Yavatmal district ordered a ten-day lockdown from Thursday night. Earlier in the day, a weekend lockdown was announced in Amravati district of the same Vidarbha region from 8 pm on Saturday to 7 am on Monday. Yavatmal Collector M D Singh said the number of coronavirus cases in the district was increasing since February 1, and the district has 606 active cases as of Wednesday. Almost 80 to 90 per cent of new cases were being reported from Yavatmal, Pandharkawda and Pusad cities, he said.

ALSO READ | Covid-19 Mutations Found in Amravati & Yavatmal, Experts Say It Escapes Neutralising Antibodies

As the threat of new strain of coronavirus looms large, Chahal held a meeting with all additional municipal commissioners, zonal joint commissioners, deputy commissioners, assistant commissioners of all ward offices along with concerned officers via video conferencing. He reviewed the situation and gave the necessary directives to all concerned.

Directives Issued by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation:

  • All asymptomatic patients being treated at home (home quarantine) to be stamped as earlier. Also, their information should be communicated to their respective societies. Ward War Rooms are instructed to closely monitor the patients. They should be contacted via landline telephone 5 to 6 times a day to ensure that they are at home. Close contacts should be isolated after taking complete information of the patient. If the asymptomatic patient steps out of the house or walks around in any public space before their Home Quarantine period is over, societies are requested to cooperate with MCGM and inform their respective Ward War Rooms. Ward War Rooms are instructed to take legal action against such patients. In addition, these patients will then be subjected to compulsory institutional quarantine.

  • Residential buildings with more than 5 COVID-19 patients will be sealed.

  • Use of mask is mandatory in wedding ceremonies, gymkhanas/clubs, nightclubs, restaurants, cinema halls, all religious places, playgrounds and gardens, public places, shopping malls as well as all private offices. If it is found that masks are not being used and more than 50 people are found gathered at the same time, then the concerned persons will be fined. Establishments and managements will also be prosecuted.

  • Regular inspection of halls, marriage halls shall be done. At least 5 such places should be raided and inspected every day. If violation of any rule is found, legal action should be taken against the organizers of the wedding/parents of the bride-groom as well as the concerned management.

  • In order to take action against those who do not use masks properly and spit in public places, the number of 2,400 marshals currently working in Mumbai should be doubled to 4,800. It is necessary to put up deterrent on those who are roaming without mask. In view of this, punitive action should be aimed against about 25,000 citizens every day against the current average of 12,500 citizens.

  • In order to take action against unmasked travellers on the Western, Central and Harbour Suburban Railway services in Mumbai, a total of 300 marshals will be deployed (100 marshals on each line).

  • The Mumbai police are now being empowered to take action against unmasked citizens. The police can also act as marshals by imposing fines on the violators.

  • MCGM teachers will be deployed at all buildings, offices, hospitals etc. managed by MCGM with powers to take punitive action against those roaming without masks.

  • In order to monitor all places of worship, women marshals will also be deployed along with male marshals. Roaming without a mask, gathering of more than 50 people at a time or any such violation will lead to punitive action.

  • Action will also be taken against those found in playgrounds and parks without masks.

  • In Municipal wards with rising number of COVID-19 cases, action should be taken on the lines of Mission Zero. Area mapping should be done in order to test maximum number of people in such wards. In addition, at least 15 close contacts per COVID-positive patient should be tracked and kept in isolation.

  • In slums, narrow settlements, densely populated areas, health check-up camps should be organized with the help of NGOs to identify suspects. In addition, patient search should be continued through mobile clinics with emphasis on testing.

  • COVID Care Centre 1 (CCC1) for High Risk Contacts and COVID Care Centre 2 (CCC2) for Asymptomatic patients – at least one of either centers shall be kept functional in each ward.

  • Municipal Commissioner also mentioned that there should be adequate availability of regular and oxygen beds at Jumbo COVID Centres.

  • Disaster Management Department should update information on COVID-19 patients, availability of beds and other necessary information from all government and private hospitals within the MCGM jurisdiction by collecting it every hour through the dashboard.

  • As per guidelines issued by the Central Government, all passengers coming to India from Brazil will have to undergo mandatory Institutional Quarantine. In line with the Government of India directives, MCGM has decided to keep all passengers coming to Mumbai from Brazil under mandatory seven-day institutional quarantine. The implementation for the same has already begun.