A 57-year-old security officer of the civic body, who was due to retire later this year, Wednesday succumbed to the novel coronavirus, the ninth Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) staffer to die due to the infection.
So far, 80 civic security personnel have tested positive for the virus, of whom 55 are still undergoing treatment and 25 have recovered.
The security guard, originally posted at KEM hospital at Parel, was last month shifted to G-South ward — comprising Worli, Mahalaxmi, Lower Parel — after a government directive restricted assigning staff above 55 years on Covid-19 duty.
“On May 14, the security officer, a resident of Delisle Road in Lower Parel, was admitted to KEM Hospital after he complained of breathlessness. Subsequently, his sample was tested for Covid-19. On Tuesday, after he tested positive and was shifted to a Covid-19 ward. By evening, his condition deteriorated and he died early Wednesday morning,” an official from BMC’s security guard department said.
The official added that the source of his infection is yet to be ascertained.
Of 55 security personnel, who are undergoing treatment for the virus, 52 are guards and three others are officers.
BMC employs 2,400 security guards, who are deployed at civic hospitals, ward offices, and other central offices. The corporation also has more than 2,200 private security personnel.
The BMC employees’ union has alleged that the security staff is not being given proper safety equipment, which is exposing them to infection. “The security guards are not getting enough safety equipment. They get poor quality masks and gloves. The civic body should give them PPE kits when they are deployed at Covid-19 wards. The 57-year-old security officer was assigned on duty even when he was above 55 years of age. This is complete negligence,” Prakash Devdas of Mumbai Manpa Karmchari Sangathana said.
The civic administration has denied the allegations.
“We are giving all the safety equipment to our staff. If any guard is posted at a Covid-19 ward, he is being given PPE. Apart from this, all guards have been given masks, gloves, and hand sanitisers. We have enough stock. Also, all our staff is covered under the compensation policy of Covid-19 death,” said a senior officer of the civic body’s security department. Chief security officer, Vinod Badkar, could not be reached for comment.
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