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Lockdown log: How a housing society took prompt step to combat virus situation

The cosmopolitan mix of the apartment complex with professionals like doctors, nurses and officials from multinational pharma and medical companies helped the committee to take this pre-emptive measure taking a cue from other countries.

Written by Ritu Sharma | Ahmedabad | Published: March 30, 2020 10:58:42 pm
Coronavirus: RBI allows moratorium on loans, deferment of interest payments People stand at a safe distance form each other outside a bank in CTM area, Ahmedabad, on Thursday. (Express photo: Javed Raja)

When the first coronavirus positive case was reported in Ahmedabad on March 20, the management committee of Safal Parisar-I decided to impose a self-lockdown that day itself. Knowing that it would be difficult to impose it in one of the oldest housing societies in south Bopal area where 480 families reside in the 12 ten-storey apartment complex, the 11-member management committee chalked out details on how to go about it.

“We held an urgent meeting on March 20 evening and decided to restrict entry from outside with immediate effect. All the domestic helps and car cleaning men were informed not to report from the following day,” said Tanish Dadhania, the chairman of the committee.

The cosmopolitan mix of the apartment complex with professionals like doctors, nurses and officials from multinational pharma and medical companies helped the committee to take this pre-emptive measure taking a cue from other countries. Follow Coronavirus in India LIVE Updates

It was applicable for the in-house housekeeping employees too. From a total of 18 employees, the strength has been reduced to half and that too only for half day.

These decisions were circulated among the members the same day through various social media platforms like WhatsApp, SMS blast service and apartment society applications like Mygate.

Now everyone entering the society is allowed inside only after due permission and after he clears the body thermal scan and sanitise his hands.

This proactive decision and its implementation helped the complex residents stock grocery and essentials in advance, even before a statewide and nationwide lockdown was announced.

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“Since we had already announced and implemented days before the janata curfew or the nationwide lockdown, we were advised to stock essential items,” said Bhumi Shah (34), a resident of the society.

The residents have mutually agreed to allow the vegetable vendor sitting outside the complex for years now to meet the daily supply. For other daily items there is a market right across the road.

The complex has residents of four flats who are on self-quarantine. They are helped by their neighbours in getting any kind of assistance required.

While the library area which was a dedicated area for senior citizens has been locked too, the 18,000 square metre complex, which is otherwise abuzz with over children and elderly people in the common area that houses a cricket pitch, basketball and badminton area, remains unoccupied these days.

“The entire area which was otherwise so lively has turned into one as if there are hardly any occupants here. In all these years we have never seen such a situation,” said Dinesh Patel, one of the residents.

The residents, however, have made an exemption for a few diabetic patients who are allowed to take a walk inside.

Children during lockdown

“My daughter has taken to music and her other hobbies like painting which she would not get time otherwise. She is learning to play guitar and piano,” says Raunak Nagar about her 12-year-old daughter.

While other children have found refuge in internet, television and indoor games to kill time, a few are also kept busy in worksheets prepared either by their parents or assigned from their schools through emails or WhatsApp.

“The school is assigning worksheets and assignments in the form of an audio/video message. In return we have to submit the child’s work in the same format,” said Bhumi whose six-year-old girl was scheduled to enter Class I this month.

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When asked if it has been difficult to enforce the lockdown, the committee members said the residents have been very understanding and accommodating.

“Since being an old society we know everyone personally, it became easy to make them understand the situation. Now such is the situation that despite having permission under essential services, members seek permission before leaving the complex,” says Jaimin Patel, committee secretary.

Another step the society residents initiated for the housekeeping staff was to issue them stamped permission letters so that they are not stopped on way by police or other administrative staff.

India coronavirus latest update, March 30

The experience of pharma industry came handy when it came to essentials like sanitisers. “We have even stocked our own supply of sanitisers which will easily last for a month. We have used 20-22 litres of sanitiser and have another 30 litres in stock,” said Vishwas Tadar, joint secretary of the committee who is a banker.

However, the society management is happy with the benefits that have come with the lockdown.

“We take power reading everyday and it has been observed that the power consumption has been reduced by 30 per cent. This is due to limited use of lifts as well as the decision to have a reduced use of lights in the common area since,” says Tanish, the committee chairman.

The society residents have adjusted to these changes and say that they would not mind following them in the coming days as well and need be extend beyond the deadline of April 14.

Here’s a quick Coronavirus guide from Express Explained to keep you updated: What can cause a COVID-19 patient to relapse after recovery? | COVID-19 lockdown has cleaned up the air, but this may not be good news. Here’s why | Can alternative medicine work against the coronavirus? | A five-minute test for COVID-19 has been readied, India may get it too | How India is building up defence during lockdown | Why only a fraction of those with coronavirus suffer acutely | How do healthcare workers protect themselves from getting infected? | What does it take to set up isolation wards?

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