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‘Five calls a day, physical visits’: Mumbai issues new home quarantine rules amid Omicron threat

🔴 The guidelines come after a patient in Karnataka infected by the Omicron variant of Covid-19 was found to have left India despite testing positive.

Written by Laxman Singh | Mumbai |
Updated: December 5, 2021 12:27:57 am
Outstation passengers being screened on arrival at Dadar railway station, on Friday. (Express Photo by Amit Chakravarty)

From phone calls five times a day to physical visits, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has released a set of rules to ensure proper monitoring of travellers coming in from ‘at risk’ countries and under home quarantine amid the Omicron threat.

The Mumbai Civic body will also write to the housing societies to ensure that quarantine norms are being followed by such passengers.

In case a traveller is found breaking the rules, he/she would be booked under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, and Epidemic Act, 1897. The municipal corporation issued the detailed guidelines on December 3 to keep track of the health of these travellers.

The guidelines come after a patient in Karnataka infected by the Omicron variant of Covid-19 was found to have left India despite testing positive.

Municipal commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal said the new guidelines aim to prevent the spread of the Omicron variant in Mumbai.

“MCGM (BMC) has introduced a very unique and strict home quarantine monitoring mechanism for international passengers arriving in Mumbai from risk countries. It will be as effective as institutional quarantine,” Chahal said.

According to the new guidelines, every day, Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) will share a list of international travellers arriving at Mumbai from ‘at risk’ and ‘high risk’ countries, and those who have visited such countries in the last 15 days. The list, however, will only include names of passengers who reside in Mumbai.

After getting the list, the Disaster Management Cell will send it to the 24 administrative wards based on their address. From there, the ward war rooms will track, test and start contact tracing.

“The war room staff will call passengers under home quarantine five times a day. They will ask them about symptoms and request them to stay at home for seven days. The staff will also make physical visits to such homes to ensure that the protocols are being followed,” an official from BMC said. BMC further stated that if housing societies found that a person was not following the protocols, they can inform the ward war rooms.

The concerned medical officer will issue a letter to housing societies informing about the passengers to ensure that no visitors are allowed into such households.

On the seventh day of home quarantine, the staff from the war room asks the traveller to undergo a RT-PCR test. “In case the passenger shows any symptoms or tests positive, he/she should be immediately shifted to BMC’s facilities for treatment,” the official added.

According to BMC, 14 international travellers from ‘at risk countries’ have tested Covid-19 positive in Mumbai. Their samples have been sent for genome sequencing to check for the Omicron variant.

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