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Mumbai: Ward-level squads to take action against Covid norm violators

Mumbai recorded 2,510 new cases of Covid-19 on Wednesday, much higher than 1,377 fresh cases registered on Tuesday. The positivity rate on Wednesday was 5.1 per cent, slightly higher than 4.9 per cent recorded on Tuesday.

Written by Yogesh Naik , Sanjana Bhalerao | Mumbai |
Updated: December 30, 2021 9:13:23 am
MumbaiA BMC health worker collects swab sample of an outstation passenger for COVID-19 test, at Dadar railway station, in Mumbai, Saturday, December 18, 2021. (PTI Photo)

AMID RISING daily Covid-19 cases in Mumbai, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Wednesday said that ward level squads will be deployed to take action against violators of norms. It also reiterated that no celebrations and functions will be allowed in hotels, restaurants as well as in open or closed spaces for the New Year.

Against the backdrop of the rising cases in Mumbai, Suburban Guardian Minister Aaditya Thackeray reviewed the situation and preparation for vaccinating the 15-18 age group.

The minister tweeted, “In the next 48 hours, @mybmc will be connecting with all educational institutions in the city to plan an organised vaccination drive for all those from 15 to 18 years of age.”

Also, urging people not to panic but exercise extreme caution, he tweeted, “We have also asked all the Covid care jumbo centres to be at stand by, at all readiness levels, along with basic facilities to medical infrastructure. Testing and tracing protocols for all that have been operational all through, were reviewed too.”

In a meeting on Wednesday, Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal asked the 24 ward officers to immediately appoint flying squads to ensure that rules are properly complied with. These teams will also include police personnel who will work in coordination with BMC officials. “All assistant commissioners should check daily CCTV camera footage of hotels and restaurants under their jurisdiction and ensure that rules regarding capacity and restrictions are followed,” he said.

Chahal instructed the 24 ward officers to activate Covid Care Centres 2 with a capacity of at least 500 beds in each ward. Officers have also been instructed to appoint an additional number of trainee doctors for the next two months in the ward war rooms. The trainee doctors will follow up with patients in home isolation.

Given the rising Covid-19 cases, the newly-constructed Malad and Kanjurmarg jumbo Covid-19 centres will be activated.

“Despite restrictions on wedding ceremonies and New Year’s functions, the number of patients has risen sharply in the past week.
Therefore, as a precaution, some things have to be done with priority,” Chahal said in the meeting.

When contacted, Chahal said that though the number of cases in Mumbai have increased, the positivity rate has not risen much. While the city reported a positivity rate of 4.9 per cent on Tuesday, it was 5.1 per cent on Wednesday.

“We had 1,377 new cases on Tuesday and conducted 32.000 tests. The city reported 2,510 new cases on Wednesday, and 52,000 tests have been conducted. The positivity rate has gone up by just 0.2 per cent. We have to be cautious, but there is no need to panic,’’ he told The Indian Express.

Chahal said BMC will soon requisition a five-star hotel, where international travellers can quarantine themselves. “A MBBS doctor will be posted there along with an ambulance to shift patients to hospitals when required,” he added. The Covid-19 care centre at Malad will be used for children, said Chahal.

On how many cases can the city witness in the near future, Chahal said, “We had 11,500 cases on a single day during the second wave… this time too, it can go that way. We have to be cautious and not panic. We are ready with 54,000 beds, of which 4,000 are ICU beds and 30,000 are oxygenated ones.”

Amid a surge in cases of Omicron variant, passengers arriving from UAE have to undergo mandatory RT-PCR testing at the airport.

If the test report is positive, they will be shifted to institutional quarantine.

The BMC said that it has reserved 500 beds each at BKC and NESCO jumbo Covid-19 centres for asymptomatic international passengers and those who don’t require medical assistance. Passengers can also shift to hotels for institutional quarantine. However, hotel charges for the same have to be borne by the travellers.

Chahal further instructed hospital and Covid-19 care centres deans and officials to review the availability of manpower, medicines and other facilities in hospitals to ensure that there is no shortage.

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