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Coronavirus in Mumbai: BMC to seal entire building if more than 10 Covid cases found

07:57 AM Sep 17, 2020 | Staff Reporter

Amid an increasing number of corona cases being reported from the high-rise buildings, the BMC has now decided to seal the entire building if more than 10 or more cases are reported.

According to revised guidelines, the whole building will be also sealed “if above (10) cases are from two or more floors”, and sealed partially “ if in a building single/bulk cases found in a single home”.

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The new rules will come into effect from Thursday. Instead of sealing these buildings, where viral outbreak cases have been reported, the civic authorities have directed office-bearers of respective housing societies to take more responsibilities in a bid to tackle the spread of the contagion, which has been causing havoc for the past six months in Mumbai. “The respective assistant municipal commissioner or medical health officer can take call about sealing the whole building to prevent the spread of COVID-19 if sealing of floor or wing is not sufficient,” read guidelines.

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In the wake of rising COVID-19 cases in the buildings, Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal conducted a virtual review meeting, in which the revised guidelines decided, points out the circular. “However, the final call will be taken by an assistant commissioner, or a ward officer, who is in charge of an administrative ward, or a medical officer of health (MOH) on whether sealing the floor or wing is adequate, or if the entire building needs to be sealed in a bid prevent the spread of Covid-19,” the circular stated.

“The new BMC protocol fixes the accountability on a residential building’s office-bearers and local civic authorities to ensure social distancing, a ban on entry of outsiders in the sealed area and monitoring the health and ensuring supplies of essential commodities of home quarantined patients,” said Dr Mangala Gamore, executive health officer.
“The home quarantined patients and their high-risk contacts in sealed buildings will have to download Arogya Setu application (app) on their phones in a bid to monitor their movements, ward war room or the BMC’s control room number (1916) should be alerted if patients develop symptoms and the infected persons should be in touch with MOH of a ward on a regular basis,” read circular.

Since the beginning of September, the spread of COVID-19 infection has witnessed a significant rise in the buildings, taking the number of sealed buildings to 8,763 on September 15, from around 6171 buildings on August 31, 2020.

The number of containment zones, in slums and chawls, however, has not surged so much as compared to sealed buildings. BMC data shows, Mumbai has only 592 containment zones on September 15, as compared to 567 zones on August end. Earlier on May 13, BMC had issued guidelines about sealing the buildings on finding one or more COVID-19 cases in a building.

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