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To get facilities ready, BMC puts off institutional quarantine of travellers from ‘at-risk’ countries to Friday

Currently, around 5,000 travellers from 'at-risk' countries land in Chhatrapati Shivaji International airport in Mumbai daily, as per the BMC. Accommodating these many passengers will be an uphill task for BMC.

Written by Rupsa Chakraborty | Mumbai |
December 1, 2021 2:59:45 pm
Allow fully vaccinated domestic flyers to enter state without RT-PCR report: BMC to stateThe airport has already started conducting RT-PCR tests on international passengers. For the time being, the infected patients will be taken to Byculla jumbo centre. (File)

Following the new guidelines of the Maharashtra government in the wake of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will start the compulsory institutional quarantine of travellers arriving from “at-risk” countries only from the midnight of December 3 (Friday).

The state on Tuesday night issued a new guideline that all international travellers arriving from European countries, the UK, South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel have to undergo a mandatory seven-day institutional quarantine. They will also have to take RT-PCR tests thrice — on the second, fourth, and seventh days of their arrival.

Currently, around 5,000 travellers from these ‘at-risk’ countries land in Chhatrapati Shivaji International airport in Mumbai daily, as per the BMC. Accommodating these many passengers will be an uphill task for the BMC.

So, the civic body has decided to buy some time before launching the institutional quarantine facility from midnight of December 3. “We have some preparatory work to complete. So we will start the compulsory quarantine of these passengers from Friday midnight,” said Suresh Kakani, additional commissioner, BMC.

At present, the BMC has 6,000 beds for institutional quarantine of international arrivals.

“We have around 1,000 beds in Byculla jumbo centre which are free of cost. Along with this, we have identified 20 hotels with 5,000 bed capacity. But it will be a paid service starting from Rs 1,000 per day,” said Kakani.

The airport has already started conducting RT-PCR tests on international passengers. For the time being, the infected patients will be taken to Byculla jumbo centre.

All the arriving passengers from high-risk countries will be segregated from those arriving from low-risk countries.

The airport informed, “Adequate RT-PCR testing facility in international arrivals in the form of 48 registration counters & 40 sampling booths. Three laboratories — Lifenity, Suburban Diagnostics and Acu-MDx (Mylabs) — have been assigned for RT-PCR testing.”

Also, in addition to normal RT-PCR, 30 rapid PCR machines have been installed for the passengers to get the reports faster.

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